NFL notebook: Lions wide receiver Johnson retires
Calvin Johnson, one the most spectacular receivers in NFL history, retired from the Lions on Tuesday and rekindled memories of the way superstar running back Barry Sanders quietly stepped away from football.
The 30-year-old Johnson called it a career after nine seasons filled with highlight-reel catches, dozens of touchdowns and nearly 12,000 yards receiving. The 6-foot-5 receiver was known as Megatron, a sign of respect for his imposing skills and unusual mixture of speed, power and gracefulness.
“Let me assure you that this was not an easy or hasty decision,” Johnson said. “I, along with those closest to me, have put a lot of time, deliberation and prayer into this decision and I truly am at peace with it.”
Shortly after Detroit finished last season with a 7-9 mark — their seventh losing season in nine years — Johnson announced he was evaluating his future. He had reportedly told some teammates entering last season that it would be his last and told coach Jim Caldwell afterward that he was retiring.
Johnson piled up 731 career receptions for 11,619 yards, a league-record 86.1 yards receiving per game, and 83 touchdowns against defenses often geared to stop him. He reached 10,000 yards (115 games) and 11,000 yards (127 games) yards quicker than anyone in NFL history. Including the postseason, he has another league mark with six 200-yard receiving games.
Johnson broke one of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's records with 1,964 yards receiving in 2012. He ranked among league leaders last season with 88 receptions for 1,214 yards and nine TDs, playing through lingering injuries as he often did.
“Not only is he as good as any player I've ever seen, but I am convinced that God has not put a finer person on this earth than Calvin Johnson,” Caldwell said.
Johnson had to endure the NFL's first 0-16 season in 2008 and he never won a playoff game.
Jags to ink Jackson, Ivory
The Jaguars took the first step — a huge one — in rebuilding their defense.
The Jaguars agreed to teams with Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson on a six-year, $90 million contract that includes $42 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The Jaguars also are expected to sign former New York Jets running back Chris Ivory, according to multiple reports.
Jackson had 129 tackles, 14 sacks and two forced fumbles in his past three seasons in Denver. He started all 16 games in 2015, finishing with 45 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries, seven passes defensed and five sacks.
Dolphins add Williams
Defensive end Mario Williams signed a $16 million, two-year contract with the Dolphins, who now have an abundance of Pro Bowl pass rushers — for the moment, at least.
Williams reached the agreement a week after being released by the Bills. The Dolphins sought reinforcement at end because they may lose defensive end Olivier Vernon in free agency, and the status of four-time Pro Bowl end Cameron Wake is in doubt, too.
JPP re-signs with Giants
Citing unfinished business, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said he and the Giants agreed to terms on a new one-year deal reportedly worth up to $10.5 million.
He said he chose to return to the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2010 despite interest from several other teams, including the Cardinals.
The popular pass rusher who had 11 ½ sacks in 2011 was limited to one sack in the final eight games last year. A July 4 fireworks accident that cost Pierre-Paul his right index finger sidelined him for the first half of the schedule.
Ravens to sign TE Watson
The Ravens will add veteran tight end Ben Watson when the free agent market opens, according to multiple reports. Watson caught a career-high 74 passes for the Saints last season. Watson has played 12 seasons in the NFL, missing only one game in the past four years.
Eagles agree to 2-year deal with CB McKelvin
Longtime Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Eagles.
McKelvin, 30, spent the last eight seasons with the Bills, who drafted him 11th overall in 2008 out of Troy.
McKelvin has played in 98 career games. He has a dozen career interceptions and 56 pass breakups. He has also compiled more than 3,000 yards on punt and kickoff returns and scored four return touchdowns.
Around the league
Bills guard Richie Incognito reached an agreement to re-sign with the Bills to a three-year contract worth $15 million. … The Broncos released three players who helped them win the Super Bowl: tight end Owen Daniels, guard Louis Vasquez, and long snapper Aaron Brewer. … Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery signed his one-year, $14.6 million franchise tender offer. … The Chiefs and Tamba Hali agreed to a three-year contract to keep the veteran linebacker in Kansas City. … Kelechi Osemele, a starter on the Ravens offensive line for the past four seasons, agreed to join the Raiders, according to NFL Network. … The Seahawks waived defensive tackle Jesse Williams after he missed the 2015 regular season following surgery for kidney cancer.