Until Calvin Johnson turns 50 years old or so there will be persistent NFL rumors that he’ll make a comeback to pro football and the New England Patriots will be at the top of that Johnson - NFL trade rumors list so long as they have a shot at a Super Bowl.
In the past five days, two mystery NFL teams have inquired about a trade for Johnson – who is still under contract to the Detroit Lions despite retiring in early 2016.
“Johnson’s been non-commital, and it doesn’t appear right now that he’s willing to come out of retirement,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on Sunday. “But what if the right team comes along and recruits him – could they entice the 32-year-old Johnson to come back and play?”
There was some buzz this past summer that Johnson was mulling a return and he spoke about wanting to join an NBA-style “super team” in the NFL. Of course, with Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski in the Patriots’ offense, they would fit that bill.
“Of course I thought about it,” Johnson said about switching teams this past summer. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys they create these super teams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom to just go.
“I was stuck in my contract with Detroit and they told me they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them. I didn’t see the chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time, and for the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere.”
One of Johnson’s best buddies from his playing days – Nate Burleson – straight up told Johnson he thinks he should unretired and become a member of the Patriots last year.
“Congratulations on your retirement, man,” Burleson wrote as an analyst for NFL.com. “Now, take (2016) off then find a way to land with the Patriots and get a championship ring. You deserve it.”
The Detroit Free-Press reported Sunday morning that “a person familiar with the discussions [of a potential Johnson trade] said the chances of a deal happening are very small.”
That said, Philadelphia Eagles fans were super excited Sunday morning when NFL reporter Ben Fennell tweeted out, “Calvin Johnson on my flight from Detroit to Philly … Still looks like he can run by some CBs! … and hey #81 is open on the Eagles!”
SB Nation’s Eagles blog immediately pounced on that, obviously, but it looks like Fennell deleted the tweet.
The Patriots and Eagles are the favorites right now to meet in the Super Bowl, so keep a close eye on these two “super teams” prior to Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.