|Detroit needs to get a Megatron extension done ASAP. (Getty Images)|
Calvin Johnson established himself as the premiere NFL wide receiver during a monster 1,681-yard, 16-touchdown season in 2011. Johnson played well enough last year to unlock a $4.5 million contract bonus, but the real money he'll unlock will come between now and the beginning of the 2013 season.
|Latest NFL News, Notes|
Johnson's a free agent after the 2012 season, but if the Lions get their druthers, they'll ink Johnson to an extension before then. According to Lions president Tom Lewand, via our Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger, the team and Johnson have had "positive" talks about a new deal.
"[Johnson’s] got a good relationship with Matthew [Stafford]," Lewand said on WBBL radio. "There’s a desire to keep that [relationship] together. When that desire exists, you can get deals done."
Lewand's spot on -- we talked to Matthew Stafford at the Super Bowl, and the quarterback, working with DirecTV for their "Displaced Fan" contest, said he'd love to play his entire career with Megatron.
"Yeah, obviously we'd love it," Stafford told CBSSports.com. "We'll see if it happens. I know they'll probably start talking about something here pretty soon and hopefully they can get something done. He's a great talent and a great teammate and hopefully a guy I get to play my whole career with."
What makes the Johnson deal particularly interesting is that the Lions need to extend him, and they need to do it quickly if they want to remain competitive in 2012. Johnson's set to make $14 million in base salary alone, and that doesn't count all those incentives, which will put him north of $21 million in terms of his salary-cap number.
Re-negotiating Johnson before this season not only avoids an impossible franchise-tag situation (120 percent of his base salary from 2011), but it creates cap space for the Lions to go after other players and address other needs.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.