Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.
Though Johnson had missed some of the sessions, he wanted to earn his money back by working out extra, allowing him to receive the money.
The Texans told him no, per two sources informed of the situation.
That furthered the divide between Johnson and the Texans, driving a wedge between the parties. That caused Johnson to tell them he wanted to play for another team. He is now working out, "not thinking about the Texans," a source said.
The Texans have not yet been willing to trade him.
As he has expressed publicly, Johnson believes the team is rebuilding, and he has said he has doubts about if he wants to take part in another similar process, as he has several times in his career.
Johnson has also restructured his contract in each of the past three years at the team's behest, and he wants the same goodwill from the Texans regarding his $1 million roster bonus that he could earn Week 1 if he participates in offseason workouts and fulfills his contract.
The Texans declined to comment on the story, and Johnson's agent, Kennard McGuire, did not return a call for comment. Johnson told NFL Media on Wednesday that he didn't know if he'll be with the Texans on Week 1. Asked if he'd be at camp, Johnson said "hopefully" but he didn't know for sure.
Johnson is set to earn $10 million this year, not including his workout bonus. A source informed of Johnson's thinking says he would restructure his contract to help a potential new team get under the salary cap but a pay cut is not in the cards.
The Texans have resisted his request for a trade thus far, though four teams have expressed interest. Meanwhile, one veteran Texans player said while the team wants Johnson to play with them in 2014, they've also told him from a business sense, "Stick to your guns."
One possible option for the team to resolve this standoff (if they refuse to trade him) is to guarantee he's on the roster for 2015. That might bring Johnson back. They also could simply decide to pay him his $1 million bonus. Or, they could stand their ground and he'll play for no one in 2014.