Is this the end of the Dynamic Duo of Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford?
Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford have been cornerstones of the Detroit Lions franchise since their draft days in 2007 and 2009, respectively. They’ve been two of the league’s best players and one of the best duos since Manning and Harrison. But, like all things in the NFL, it’s time will eventually come to an end. With a down season for each, and a pitiful record, it could be time for this duo to depart the motor city.
Since being taken with the first overall pick in 2009, Stafford has been one of the most productive quarterbacks. With four consecutive years of over 4,000 yards, and on pace to do it again, Stafford showed his elite ability to move the ball. His problem is his lacking in the ability to win football games. With a career record of 40-51, Stafford has not turned into the winner the Lions hoped for, and it could be time to cut bait. After a change of GM’s, it is possible that the new leadership could use their high draft pick in the upcoming draft to take Stafford’s replacement. With 2 years remaining before a long term commitment is necessary, there could be life left in this duo. But if Stafford does not improve his play, Stafford’s time in Detroit will be a short one.
Calvin Johnson has been arguably the most dominant players since coming in the league in 2007. At 6’5”, running a 4.3 forty-yard dash, Johnson is nearly uncoverable. But injuries and subpar quarterback play has limited his upside. With the leadership change putting the writing on the wall for Matt Stafford’s potential change, Johnson is another player that could be on the outs in Detroit. Johnson is under contract with the Lions until 2020, and if cut at the end of this season would cost the club $12.9 million. This keeps Johnson safe for at least one more full season. But that number dwindles down to about $4.9 million after next season. Which could turn into Johnson’s final season as a Lion. If the club does decide to draft a new QB, Johnson could be a valuable asset regardless of salary. Rookie quarterbacks love having a safety-net receiver and Johnson’s talent could be extremely beneficial for a developing player.
Johnson released a joint statement with the Lions stating that he was evaluating his options. Retirement seems to be looking heavily for him.
“Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future,” Johnson said in the statement. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.”
With the way each of the stars contracts are structured, it seems as if there could be at least one more season left in this duo. But if play doesn’t pick up, and injury concerns aren’t addressed, 2016 could be the last we see of Johnson and Stafford on the same team.
– Michael Hersey