The Detroit Lions finally had a good season last year and wide receiver Calvin Johnson was one of the major reasons why. The club recognized his contributions of 16 touchdowns and 96 catches and made sure he didn’t test the free-agency waters next year by signing him to an eight-year deal worth approximately $132 million.

The new contract guarantees $60 million with another $36 million considered to be option and signing bonuses. With the contract, Johnson now becomes the league’s highest-paid wide receiver ever. Larry Fitzgerald used to hold the honor with the $120 million, eight-year deal he signed last year with the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson is now locked in with Detroit until the end of the 2019 NFL season.

Johnson gained 1,681 yards last season, which was good for seventh place on the all-time list and the most in the league since the 2003 season when Torry Holt of the Rams gained 1,696 yards. In his five-year career, Johnson has made 366 catches and scored 49 touchdowns for a total of 5,872 yards. He’s the sixth player in league history to reach 45 touchdowns and 5,500 yards in a five-year period. He was also voted All-Pro last season for the second consecutive year.

The Lions realize what a special talent the 26-year-old Johnson is and felt it was worth spending the money to lock him up for the rest of his career. His current contract was signed back in 2007 and had one year remaining on it. After the deal was announced Johnson said the contract was a blessing and it hasn’t really hit him yet. But he added he sees playing football as his job and he comes to work hard every day.

Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said he was glad Johnson signed the extension and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Head coach Jim Schwartz was also glad a deal was made and said Johnson’s worth every penny that he’s going to be paid. He said Johnson comes early to all meetings, stays after practices, puts the team ahead of himself and lets his actions on the field speak for him. He added that no matter how good of a football player Johnson is, he’s even a better person and teammate.

Many football analysts rank the 6-foot-5 Johnson as best wide receiver in the NFL. The 243 pounder can complete the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds and is one of the league’s most physically-gifted athletes. The new contract also gives the Lions more room under this year’s salary cap and this will likely be used to attract some free agents or retain some of their own.

Under the old contract, Johnson’s salary would have used up about $22 million in cap space, but the new deal will lower this to approximately $9 million. Johnson said he was glad he was able to provide some cap space for the club, which is estimated to be $14 million, and they may use it to re-sign starters Jeff Backus and Stephen Tulloch.

Written by Ian Palmer via FeedCrossing, Content News Source

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