Do the unthinkable Belichick, go get Andre Johnson.
Let me paint you a verbal picture. The Patriots had pieced together a miraculous season, one filled with come from behind victories, unlikely wins (and stars), one where Patriots fans everywhere saw countless stars fall to their knees with injury. This was a team that, on the back of adversity, had put together a season for the ages, and had marched themselves to the AFC championship game. This was the biggest game of the season. Winner goes to the Super Bowl. So many story lines filled the cold air.
The game starts.
Brady takes the field, looking to take the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl in 10 years (really its more like 13 but eh, whatever). He stands under center, barking out orders. He looks to his right and left and who does he see? Matthew Mulligan, Austin Collie, Michael Hoomanawanui, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater. Let’s take a moment and have that sink in. In the most important game of the Patriots season, Brady was throwing to two backup tight ends, a wide receiver who was thought to never be able to play again, a special teams star, and… well actually I can’t say anything bad about Edelman because he’s proven himself to be a good wide receiver. But do you see the point I’m making here? Brady had no one that game. Meanwhile, Manning is on the other side with a half chub just looking at his receiving core: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker.
Every person who has ever covered the Patriots makes it a point to say that their window is closing; Brady is getting old and the Patriots need to capitalize on the remaining time they have with him. Surround him with weapons and see what happens. But that’s not the Patriots way. The Pats don’t like overpaying for wide receivers because Brady has proven he can play with anyone. Instead they invest all their money in a homicidal maniac and an injury prone bro.
But it’s time for the Patriots to take a step out of their comfort zone and go get a star receiver for Brady. And that person is Andre Johnson.
Johnson is currently sitting in a corner pouting because the Texans, the only NFL team he’s ever been on, suck. They went 2-14 last season and didn’t address their biggest need (quarterback) in the draft or free agency. Right now it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick vs fourth round pick Tom Savage to see who is the starting QB in Houston. Not what an aging wide receiver wants to see. Even at 33 years old, the veteran wide out is still perfectly capable of playing at a high level, catching 109-catch for 1,407-yard and five touchdowns last season.
Basically, Andre wants out. And who can blame him?
No one is sure what it will cost to pry Johnson away from the Texans, and it doesn’t help that Bill and the Patriots hate to give up the future for the now. Johnson also has a rather large contract that the Patriots would have to take on/restructure and it would leave a large cap hit for the Texans to swallow, but is it impossible to get done? No sir.
Plus, what better spot for him to end up with than with the Patriots, a team that happens to be in high demand of a 6-foot-3, 230-pound, game changing seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro wide receiver. Imagine Johnson catching balls from Brady. Imagine how much better second year receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins would pay with less attention put on them. Imagine Edelman and Danny Amendola running around in the slot. And we still haven’t touched on the cherry that goes on top this imaginary cake: Mr. Rob Gronkowski. This offense would be an entirely different beast.
For those who don’t want to take on an over 30 wide receiver, why not? Is it because you are worried about the future and don’t want to give up picks and such for an older player? That seems to be the most common argument, to which I reply, SO WHAT!? Looking towards the future doesn’t help because the future isn’t here yet! Why worry about this team three years down the road and not worry about the team that we have right now? That makes no sense to me. The Patriots are obviously at fault for this, worrying about Brady’s replacement in the second round instead of drafting a wide receiver or a pass rusher or a safety or literally any other piece. Win all the championships you can now, while you have Tom and Bill and while the AFC East, and the entire AFC for that matter, is weak and a joke. Build the team for now!
Andre Johnson also has yet to really show his age, much like our own Tom Brady. Even with the shitshow of quarterbacks that the Texans paraded through, Johnson still managed to post monster games last season. He caught 12 passes for 146 yards in a Week 1 against the Chargers and he caught eight passes for 76 yards the following week against the Titans. Against the best defense in the NFL – and the self proclaimed best corner in the league – Johnson caught nine balls for 110 yards in Seattle. Then against the Colts, he caught nine passes for 229 yards. That’s over 25 yards a catch!
Oh, and against the Patriots, he hauled in eight receptions for 121 yards. So both Bill and Bob Kraft had front row seats to the beast that is Andre Johnson. No one can make the argument that this guy is on the decline.
The Patriots have already bucked tradition once this offseason: going out and signing Darrelle Revis, the best player for their defense. Now go do that for the offense Bill. The AFC Championship game would have been an entirely different beast if we had Johnson on roster. And looking at that, it makes all the sense in the world to go get a All-Star, possible Hall of Fame player when he becomes available.
It could be the difference between making the Super Bowl and having yet another season end in disappointment.
Cover photo credit: fansided.com