Johnson won't be retiring, of course, but there's almost no chance a new Lions general manager takes a look at his salary as is and decides that his or her team can move forward with a massive $24,088 cap hit. Perhaps that opinion changes once cap rises again -- which it is projected to do -- but even then, those are percentages typically used for quarterbacks, premiere pass rushers and lockdown cornerbacks.
When asked if he'd take a paycut -- there is no remaining guaranteed money on his deal, and it would save the Lions more than $11 million by cutting him -- Johnson said this:
"We'll consider those things when or if they happen."
This will be one of the more delicate situations we've seen a new general manager inherit. John Idzik traded Darrelle Revis months after signing on as the general manager of the Jets, but whoever is tapped to run the Lions will have to get rid of arguably the second-greatest player in franchise history depending on how you feel about Joe Schmidt and Bobby Layne.
Johnson is a quiet superstar, and we don't know if he's the type that would want the thrill of finishing out his career with a perennial contender, or one that would like to remain with one team for more than a decade.