HOUSTON -- Andre Johnson has five years remaining on a $60 million contract he signed with the Texans in 2007. The star receiver feels that he's already outplayed that contract, however, and was missing from the start of Houston's voluntary organized team activities on Monday.
Johnson, who led the NFL in receiving yards last season (1,569 yards), is scheduled to make $5.8 million this season.
Texans general manager Rick Smith said Monday that Johnson was missing because he was unhappy with his current contract.
Since Johnson signed his contract, the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald received a four-year, $40 million deal and new Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall agreed to a four-year, $47 million contract after he was traded from the Denver Broncos.
Smith said that he was "not real worried" about the four-time Pro Bowler's absence.
"He's got five years left on [the deal he signed in 2007]. We're willing to sit down and talk with him and he knows that," Smith said.
Still, Smith said that redoing a contract with five years remaining will be challenging.
"It's very difficult," Smith said. "It's something that's not customary, but we've got a relationship with him and he knows we are willing to sit down and talk with him."
The team's policy under Smith has been to negotiate only with players who are participating in team activities. Smith pointed to what star middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans did last offseason when he was unhappy with his contract.
"One of the things that was real smart on his part was the fact that he was upset that we had not been able to come to terms with an agreement, but he came back and was a part of the offseason workout and he was with his teammates, he was a leader and he did things the right way," Smith said. "He played his contract out and he was rewarded."
Johnson's absence is another distraction for a team that has been dealing with Brian Cushing's upcoming four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The 2010 season could be a pivotal one for the team, which is coming off its first winning record but has never reached the playoffs.
"You'd like to have all your people out here working, especially when we're trying to go do something we never have done," Smith said. "So the ideal situation is to have everybody working together, but as we talked about last week, you've got to be able to deal with distractions."
Smith said he has spoken to the receiver but wouldn't divulge details about their conversations.
"Obviously we want Andre here," coach Gary Kubiak said. "I know he and Rick are talking, so we'll get it worked out. We're not worried about Andre. He'll do his job."
Johnson has 587 receptions for 7,948 yards and 42 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons -- all with Houston.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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