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.