Johnson, however, never took the rumors seriously.
"I didn't really look much into it," Johnson told NFL Network on Tuesday at a Nike event to unveil new NFL uniforms. "I didn't think that he would even come to us. ... When they talked about the teams that he possibly had a chance of going to, the two teams that I said was Denver or San Francisco and, as it started winding down, I figured he'd probably pick Denver."
Johnson's highlight-reel career remains directly linked to Schaub, who missed the final six games of the regular season and both of Houston's playoff affairs following Lisfranc surgery on his right foot. Schaub's durability was an issue in 2007 and 2008 before he started 42 consecutive games for the team. Johnson believes Schaub will return to form in 2012, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I know what type of player Matt is," Johnson said. "I know when he's healthy, what he can do when he's out on the field. He was having a great year until he was injured."
While Manning significantly changes the scope of Denver's offense, Schaub -- when healthy -- already gives the Texans a top quarterback in this league. He's thrived with Houston, averaging 264.1 yards passing per game over 64 starts, with 92 touchdowns next to 52 picks. Manning is a once-in-a-lifetime passer, but the Texans remain dangerous with or without him.