Lewis says it again: Chad Johnson isn't going anywhere
"They can stop the presses, quit killing trees and move on to other things," Lewis said, defending Johnson despite the wide receiver's critical comments about the team. "There is, at no point, anyone in the Bengals organization who has ever uttered anything about trading Chad Johnson. Nor will he be traded."
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that acquiring Johnson is the Washington Redskins' top offseason priority, as team owner Daniel Snyder wants an elite receiver.
The Post reported that according to two league sources, Johnson wants to land a big payday in Washington, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has been quietly working behind the scenes to broker a deal.
They can stop the presses, quit killing trees and move on to other things ... There is, at no point, anyone in the Bengals organization who has ever uttered anything about trading Chad Johnson. Nor will he be traded.
"There is no such thing as behind-the-door dealings in the NFL. That does not occur because the team in question [the Bengals] is not willing to trade their player, nor have they thought about trading their player or discussed trading their player, nor will they discuss trading their player. So I think that's pretty clear. Things can move on," he said.
In television and radio interviews over the past month, Johnson has criticized the Bengals and hinted that he would welcome a change of scenery.
Lewis said Wednesday that he has not spoken to Johnson since the team's final regular season game.
"People [in the building] talk to him," Lewis said, according to reports. "It's unfortunate for Chad that he is being cast in this light because it's not fair. So once again I will go on record in defense of him."
"We've had a great relationship," Lewis said of the Bengals and Johnson. "All I want to see is Chad continue to be a very, very productive NFL player and help us win a lot of football games. And that's not going to change."
The latest figures from the NFL Players Association show Johnson was the fourth-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL last season with total compensation of $7,165,379 million, according to the reports. Were the Bengals to trade or release him before June 1, they would take a salary cap hit of $8.03 million.