Johnson, 5-foot-11, 195-pound, seven-year veteran from Syracuse caught 35 balls for 373 yards and one touchdown. Johnson's statistics are very similar to those of Lions slot receiver Az-Zahir Hakim (31 catches for 533 yards and 3 TDs) and his presence could make Hakim expendable. Hakim is scheduled to make $2.35 million in base salary this season and $4.6 million in 2006.
Compounding matters has been Hakim's inability to stay on the field. He has never been healthy for an entire season since coming over as a free agent from St. Louis, playing in ten games in 2002, fourteen in 2003 and just twelve in 2005.
Last season, Detroit was forced to go with a makeshift receiving corps as they tried desperately to fight their way out of a five-game losing streak after getting off to a 3-1 start.
Detroit went 1-3 during the four-week stretch Hakim was out of the lineup. Johnson has been durable, missing just one game his entire career in 2003 after being traded to Jacksonville.
Durability is a big issue with Detroit after watching 2003 third overall pick Charles Rogers suffer back-to-back season ending injuries and 2004 first round pick Roy Williams hobble through most of the season after suffering an ankle injury.