More than a few observers had to wonder about Brad Johnson’s contract Monday night as they watched the 38-year-old quarterback lead the team to an opening win over the Washington Redskins. Johnson was superb running the team while completing 16 passes in 30 attempts and throwing one touchdown pass. What made the performance all the more appealing was the passion with which he played.
Post Randy Moss and Daunte Culpepper, the face of the Vikings is now as much Johnson as anyone including coach Brad Childress. He took over for Culpepper last season and the team won seven of nine games while he completed an impressive 62.6% of his passes. In pre-season games this summer he made good on over 75.6% of his throws and in the win over Washington he looked almost flawless with his field command, quick releases and accurate tosses.
The ESPN telecast Monday night showed all of this and also reported to the national viewing audience that Johnson, a former Super Bowl winning quarterback, is the 40th highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Supposedly Johnson is being paid $1.2 million this season in the second year of a four year deal for $6 million.
I asked a former NFL executive for his take on Johnson’s contract, agreed to when it appeared his role would be to back up Culpepper. “Obviously they (management) don’t want to invest in a 38-year-old quarterback,” he said. “Clearly he (Johnson) is out performing the contract.”
The source speculated as to whether there are certain performance clauses in Johnson’s contract that could help him earn compensation more closely aligned with other NFL starting quarterbacks. If such clauses are not already in place, the suggestion is to do so. That would put more money in Johnson’s pocket without tying the Vikings to a long term deal.
Such a move also will play well with the public and media. If you can’t like Brad Johnson, you have a problem. He is a genuine and caring individual who impresses new friends and old. “He has done all the right things on and off the field,” the former football executive said. “He’s a class player.”
The Vikings have said much about their commitment to character and winning. Johnson’s resume belongs on top of the pile to make good on that mission statement.
Johnson had no comment on his contract including whether there are incentive clauses. A team spokesman said he wasn’t aware of any developments with the contract.Comments Welcome