The contract extension that wide receiver Andre Johnson signed with the Houston Texans on Thursday includes several tiers of escalators and incentives, according to a league source who has seen the contract, and the deal also includes protections for the club.
Johnson received the contract despite having five years left on his existing deal, but the Texans also structured the deal in such a way that Johnson will have to earn the additional money through reaching certain statistical thresholds. The new deal added two years to the existing contract and put a maximum of $38 million in new money in the deal, with it now reaching a max of $73.5 million over seven years.
Johnson will make $10 million in 2010 -- his previous base salary was $5.8 million -- with $2.8 million coming as a signing bonus. Johnson is also guaranteed $13 million as part of the deal.
The new thresholds are predicated on Johnson placing in the top five or top 10 in one of the four major receiving categories -- receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and average per catch -- each season. There are three tiers to the contract. If Johnson hits none of the new thresholds, he would earn $62.7 million over seven years ($8.9 million per year). If he hits the top-10 tier he would earn $68.5 million over seven years ($9.7 million average), and if he hits the top-5 tier the then the max is $73.5 million ($10.5 million per year).
In addition, Johnson's old deal included $200,000 per year in workout bonuses, but those have been restructured to a maximum of $1 million per year. In order to hit those Johnson must take part in 90 percent of the offseason program and all minicamps and training camps, which works as protection against a holdout.
The five remaining years of Johnson's contract had been worth a maximum of $35 million. In the first five years of the new deal, if Johnson fails to finish in the top five or 10 in those categories, he would earn just an additional $4.2 million. If he finished in the top 10 every year, he would earn $45 million over five years ($9 million average), and if he hits the top-5 tier every year he would earn $50 million over five years ($10 million).
Johnson has led the league in receiving yards the past two seasons and topped 100 catches in three of the past four. He has the NFL's highest receiving-yards average (90.2 per game) since 2006.
The final two years are worth a maximum of $23.5 million but are not guaranteed. So while it was unprecedented to reward a player with so much time left on his contract, the onus will remain on Johnson to go out and earn it.