“All Hail Megatron!” It’s a quote that for years stood for the destruction of the evil decepticons. It reminded people that Optimus Prime, and his gang of Autobot buddies, would cruise around the corner and fight Megatron and his drones until the earth was saved. Today, (all Transformer jokes aside) this quote has a different meaning to the majority of the world. Well, perhaps to the majority of NFL fans that is. Calvin Johnson (nicknamed Megatron) has been destroying defenses for the past 9 years. His incredible size and strength, mixed with his speed and agility, made him one of the most potent threats in all of football. “Megatron” was the most feared player to defensive-backs, and by far the most cherished player to the Lions.
This off-season has presented a cross-roads for the talented wide-out. Johnson is on the fence as to whether or not her should continue playing (with the Lions or another team) or just simply retire. Since being drafted in 2007, Johnson has only seen two winning seasons! Both of which resulted in wild card playoff losses. If Johnson decides to retire, he will not only be missed on the field (especially to QB Matt Stafford), but he will be missing out on a lot of additional money.
Johnson has hauled in between $60-$70 million in his 9 year career, which all sob stories aside, is a substantial amount. However, if Johnson were to retire before this season, he would be leaving $67.7 million dollars of his contract still on the table! Not only will Johnson not receive the remainder of his contract money, which came as the result of a extension signed in 2012, but retiring will actually cost Johnson money.
Johnson has 4 years left on his contract from the deal he signed back in 2012. As most athlete contracts are constructed, Johnson kept the signing bonus up front. Now that he plans on retiring, and thus rescinding his contract, he is legally obligated to pay a portion of the signing bonus back, making up for the services he would not be providing over the next 4 years. This is a simple principle in contract law known as anticipatory repudiation. Anticipatory Repudiation, also called an anticipatory breach, is a term in the law of contracts that describes a declaration by the promising party to a contract, that he or she does not intend to live up to his or her obligations under the contract. In notifying the Lions of his “breech of contract”, Johnson is entitled to pay back 5% of his career earnings back to the Lions. This amount would calculate to around $3.2 million.
Although Johnson isn’t thrilled about having to pay back a portion of his signing bonus, he may see it as being worthwhile in the long run. Johnson has taken a beating over the last few years and hasn’t exactly played for a competitive team in his 9-year career, so retiring may seem like his best option despite the cost. However, if I were to bet, I would say Johnson will get a last minute phone call from ole’ Bill Belichik and wind up playing in New England (the Randy Moss effect).