The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

Pony up and pay the man

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There's an old adage in the workplace that as an employee, you need to make yourself indispensable to your employer. Do this and when those dreaded cuts come around, you won't find yourself looking for work.

Andre Johnson has made himself indispensable to the Texans. And by indispensable I mean that he may have given them no other choice but to upgrade his contract despite the fact that there are still five years remaining on it.

Johnson isn't one of the best receivers in the NFL, he is the best receiver in the NFL. Vincent Jackson of the Chargers is coming off an outstanding year, as are Sidney Rice and Reggie Wayne. Wes Welker has perfected the art of getting open in the Patriots' screen-happy offense and Larry Fitzgerald has established himself among the elite as well.

But if you take a straw poll of all the cornerbacks that have to face Johnson on a regular basis, I'm willing to bet that they'd say his name if probed about which receiver is hands down the best. He rarely, if ever, has a game where he's not productive and ask Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter what he means to his teammates. His route running is superb, his hands are softer than a newborn's backside and when it's time to make a play in crunch time, he delivers. He's the epitome of a true No. 1.

Which gets us back to the topic at hand: Should the Texans pay him? He signed a team-friendly, eight-year, $60 million deal in 2007 and he is vastly underpaid compared to what Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall and Roy Williams make. But as previously mentioned, there are five years remaining on the contract, which means Johnson doesn't have much leverage here. It's not like he becomes a free agent at the end of the season and can force the Texans' hand like so many other players do around this time of year.

That said, the Texans need to spit in the face of conventional wisdom and reward the player that has been their most consistent playmaker over the years. Despite never having the opportunity to play in the playoffs, Johnson has never complained. Through all the frustrations that come with being a member of the Texans, he's remained a quite leader and a dependable player.

Usually I'd remind a team in this situation that if they give into one player, there's no stopping someone else from doing the same thing next year. Teams can't upgrade everyone's contract, especially when there are years still remaining on the deals. There will always be someone else in the league that makes more money - that's just the way the NFL is currently set up.

But this is Andre Johnson we're talking about and sometimes it's worth it just to pony up and pay the man. After all, he has made himself indispensable.

By Anthony Stalter  |  May 19, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Houston Texans , NFL , Tennessee Titans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Long holdouts looming | Next: A blip on offseason radar

Comments

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Dude...the word you're looking for is 'indispensable'!! "Expendable" means they can easily do without you...as they say in the spy pictures, "He's expendable. Kill him..."

Posted by: mcgintyman | May 19, 2010 10:16 PM

If you intended to make yourself expendable with this article, congratulations! I never knew it was so easy to become a senior editor and be published with the post. Besides that horrid mistake, I did enjoy the article.

Posted by: LouiseZig | May 20, 2010 2:03 PM

Thank you guys - you're right. Horrible mistake. Believe it or not - I'm human.

We'll get it fixed soon.

Posted by: AnthonyStalter | May 24, 2010 1:44 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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