The biggest question of the Detroit Lions offseason has been answered with news that Calvin Johnson has officially decided to retire from the NFL.
It took about two months between news broke that Calvin Johnson was considering retiring. That brought about great uncertainty to the Detroit Lions offseason but that situation has been resolved ahead of the official start of free agency on Wednesday.
Calvin Johnson has played his last game as a Lion and will indeed retire from the NFL.
The news broke with a simple announcement on the Detroit Lions website:
"Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who for the past nine seasons established himself as one of the greatest wide receivers in National Football League history, today announced his retirement from the NFL effective immediately.Johnson also filed his retirement papers with the NFL today in advance of the new League year which begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, March 9.The Lions also announced, with respect to Johnson’s contract, that those “matters were settled to the satisfaction of the parties.”"
The decision comes as little surprise considering Johnson had told family members 2015 would be his last season before the season began. He then informed Jim Caldwell of his decision after the season but took more time to make sure at Caldwell’s request.
His retirement clears an additional $11 million in salary cap space on top of the $30 million the Lions already had at their disposal. That will go a long way in helping improve the roster for the 2016 season but there is no truly replacing Calvin Johnson because there are so few like him.
With Johnson’s career now complete the debate can begin about his Hall of Fame credentials. In terms of yearly production, the man nicknamed Megatron is hard to beat. He comes up short in some statistical categories because of a shorter career than some of his peers but the peak of his career should be enough to get him enshrined.