Could the New England Patriots pursue Calvin Johnson?
Boomer Esiason isn’t ruling it out.
Johnson, now 32 years old, hasn’t played since the 2015 season, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing league sources, that two teams have spoken to the Detroit Lions about potentially trading for the wide receiver’s rights before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
It’s unclear whether the Patriots would consider trading for Johnson, who’s still under contract with the Lions despite announcing his retirement in March 2016, but some have pointed to New England as a potential landing spot if he decides he wants to play football again.
“I could see it in a heartbeat,” Esiason, a former NFL quarterback now working as an analyst for CBS Sports, said Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” of the Patriots possibly going after Megatron. “One thing we have seen over the last four or five years is that the New England Patriots have always made trades at this time of the year, and some of those trades are somewhat shocking — either they’re trading a guy to get a draft pick back or they’re acquiring somebody like an Aqib Talib. So believe you me when I think that Coach (Bill) Belichick is out there scouring all of these teams. I think he’s looking at opportunities to increase his playmakers, especially on offense.
“Adding somebody like a Calvin Johnson to the Patriots would be an insane addition, especially depending on what’s going on with Chris Hogan now and how significant his injury is and the loss of Julian Edelman.”
We don’t know what kind of shape Johnson is in right now given how long he’s been away from the field. We also don’t know whether he has any interest in an NFL comeback. Joining the Patriots, who improved to 6-2 with Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Chargers, would give the six-time Pro Bowl selection an opportunity to win a Super Bowl, though. Perhaps he’ll find that appealing and Bill Belichick will jump at the chance to add another offensive weapon.
“This gives them a different kind of perspective because he’s so much bigger,” Esiason said of the 6-foot-5 wideout. “And I don’t know what kind of shape Calvin Johnson is in, by the way. And I would also think that if it were the New England Patriots, he would say ‘yes’ in a heartbeat.”
Johnson caught 88 passes for 1,214 yards and nine touchdowns with the Lions in 2015. He racked up a career-high 122 receptions and an NFL single-season record 1,964 receiving yards during the 2012 campaign.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images