Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Megadeal for Megatron

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In August we saw Larry Fitzgerald ink an 8-year $120M deal to stay in Arizona. Today it was time for another big-time receiver to get paid to stay with his team. 26 year old Calvin Johnson signed a contract extension with the Detroit Lions that will keep him in the silver and blue through the 2019 season. The 8-year contract is worth $132M with $60M of that guaranteed.

As you can see from the numbers, Johnson has been an absolute beast leading the resurgent Lions helping them go from 0 wins in 2008 to their first playoff berth in over a decade last season. Only two other wide receivers have had seasons like he did in 2011 (95+ receptions, 1,600+ yards and 15+ touchdowns). You may have heard of them: Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. And just to show that his regular season wasn't a fluke, he went out and caught 12 passes for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns in his postseason debut against New Orleans.

But to really get a feel for how big of a deal this is for the Lions, I figured I should consult an expert. This is what my friend, and diehard Lions fan, Kevin had to say:

"It's a happy day in the D! Even though the numbers seem huge, he probably could have asked for more and likely would have got it. I think he gave the Lions a little hometown discount and it helped a ton clearing cap space for draft picks and hopefully Tulloch. This deal combined with Stafford, Suh, and Burleson restructuring hopefully is a sign that these young guys are committed to building something special that Detroit fans have been waiting for all too long."

So there you have it. A happy day in the D indeed. The best thing about this deal though is that, like Fitzgerald, it's going to a guy who really went out and earned that paycheck. In the era of the "diva" wide receiver, Johnson hasn't been caught up in talking about how great he is. He just goes out and does work, and just keeps getting better. Lions coach Jim Schwartz summed it up today on twitter:

"Makes you feel good to see a guy like Calvin be rewarded like this... A victory for every kid that worked extra after practice, never missed a mtg, put team before self, & let play do the talking for him."

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