Johnson has agreed to restructure his contract, which now will have $4.25 million guaranteed out of a potential $6 million in 2021 compensation, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Prior to the new arrangement, Johnson was scheduled for a $7.95 million base salary, including $2.1 million guaranteed. The first number goes down and the second up, with player and team reaching an agreement to keep Johnson in Houston for the final year of his lucrative contract. Now that that's settled, the Texans can figure out the rest of their roster, starting with the tumultuous Deshaun Watson situation. Johnson's team context will go from bad to worse if the Texans don't have the star QB under center.
The Texans hope to retain Johnson for 2021, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Johnson put together a fairly solid inaugural campaign in Houston, with 1,005 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns, but he was also limited to 12 appearances due to injuries. The 29-year-old carries an $8.8 million cap hit for 2021, per Spotrac.com, a figure which Wilson notes the Texans want to bring down. Johnson only carries a $2.1 million dead cap figure, so if he's unwilling to agree on a restructured contract the team could cut him without much penalty, as happened to former backfield mate Duke Johnson on Friday. Agreeing to terms on a deal that would help him stick around could be beneficial for Johnson, as he seems to have a clear path to a large workload in Houston that likely wouldn't be there for him on the open market.
Johnson carried the ball 14 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and caught three of five targets for 36 yards in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans. While the circumstances of his arrival in Houston, as part of Bill O'Brien's last ill-advised trade, were less than ideal, Johnson put together a solid 2020 campaign when he was healthy, amassing 1,005 scrimmage yards and eight TDs (six rushing, two receiving) in 12 games. With one more season left on his current contract, Johnson could well find himself back with the Texans next year, but he would also carry a small dead cap hit of $2.1 million if the team's new regime decides to move in a different direction in the backfield.
Johnson rushed 12 times for 128 yards and a touchdown and secured all three of his targets for 11 yards and another score in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. A week after racking up 11 receptions in a loss to the Colts, Johnson stood out for his work on the ground Sunday with a highly efficient performance highlighted by a 48-yard run. Johnson had yet to cross the 100-yard mark on the ground as a Texan until Sunday, and his receiving touchdown was his first since Week 7. Johnson will look to put together another strong game to cap off his first season in Houston against the vulnerable Titans defense in the Week 17 finale.
Johnson carried the ball eight times for 27 yards in Week 15 against the Colts. He added 11 receptions for 106 yards as a receiver. Johnson returned from a one-game absence and had a huge role in the backfield with both Duke Johnson (neck) and C.J. Prosise (ankle) inactive. While he was mostly held in check as a runner, he was a regular checkdown option for Deshaun Watson as a receiver. Most of his production came as a result of volume, though he did turn in receptions of 31 and 26 yards to highlight his effort. Johnson could be in line for big volume once again in Week 16 against Cincinnati if the team's backfield remains shorthanded.
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