Juicy stuff, but we still view a swap as unlikely because of the weighty financials: A Johnson trade would leave Houston with $11.96 million in dead cap money.
The Texans have resisted Johnson's requests to be dealt, but that won't stop teams from picking up the phone.
Here's our guess on who might be zeroing in on Andre:
New England Patriots
Cap space is limited, but New England makes plenty of sense. With Tom Brady in the final stages of his career, wrangling a true No. 1 pass-catcher would fill a genuine roster need and give Johnson a chance at the Super Bowl. We doubt Houston would have interest in shopping the wideout to an AFC power, but coach Bill O'Brien's friendship with Bill Belichick might help.
With Josh Gordon set to walk into the abyss, how could the Browns not be interested? Cleveland has a ton of cap room and a coordinator in Kyle Shanahan who worked beautifully with the pass-catcher in years past. The Browns (sans Gordon) currently field one of the NFL's least attractive gaggle of wideouts, but pairing Johnson with Johnny Manziel would turn this roster into a dark-horse contender in the AFC North.
Johnson's old teammate, Ben Tate, likes the sound of this:
Dre in Cleveland would be dope I can't lie but that's just me being selfishâ Ben Tate (@BenTateRB) July 10, 2014
Houston would sooner shop Johnson to an NFC squad, and we imagine that Johnson would be willing to re-do his deal to ease Carolina's cap. This scenario would furnish Johnson with a bona fide franchise passer in Cam Newton while instantly solving the team's lack of proven playmakers at the position. Andre and rookie Kelvin Benjamin would form a fascinating duo.
Seattle has never been afraid to swing for the fences. General manager John Schneider has proven he can win without a dominant corps of receivers, but Johnson would furnish Russell Wilson with a game-changing presence in a passing scheme also set to unleash a healthy Percy Harvin.
New York Jets
The Jets still lack a true No. 1 receiver despite adding Eric Decker and rookie tight end Jace Amaro. Running back Chris Johnson begged Gang Green to make a play for Johnson, but such a move would require general manager John Idzik to break from his measured approach to team-building. In New York's favor: They have prairie lands of cap room.
The natural connection between Johnson and new Ravens coordinator Gary Kubiak makes Baltimore a logical landing spot. The team's passing attack was a snoozefest last season, but the combined powers of Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Johnson would turn the Ravens into one of the AFC's more dynamic air attacks.
Kansas City Chiefs
Outside of the Browns, the Chiefs might have the deepest hole at wideout. Dwayne Bowe isn't the same player and Donnie Avery or Junior Hemingway would struggle to make plenty of rosters. The need is there, but the Chiefs don't strike us as the wheeling-and-dealing type.