Another report of Ben Johnson's asking price to become a head coach feels incredibly flimsy

After one such report came out a month ago, a subsequent report about Ben Johnson's asking price to leave the Lions to become a head coach feels very flimsy.

Before this head coach hiring cycle even began, back in December, here's what Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported about the asking price Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson had.

"I'm told personnel around the league are discussing their awareness that some Owners have been told #Lions OC Ben Johnson's asking price is at least or around $15M/year for a head coach job, per source." 

That's quite a word salad after "I'm told personnel around the league". It also reeks of an agenda someone wanted out there regarding Johnson's head coaching candidacy. His agent, naturally, denied the report.

Even with that expected denial, $15 million per year would be more than only a few head coaches in the NFL. As a fresh example, Jim Harbaugh is apparently getting $16 million per year from the Los Angeles Chargers.

After the news came that Johnson had informed the Commanders and the Seahawks he was staying in Detroit, ESPN's Adam Schefter backed up his previous inclination that Johnson was not a lock for the Commanders' job with this.

Another report about Ben Johnson's asking price feels very flimsy

Schefter's report of about teams being "spooked" by Johnson's asking price backs up Anderson's initial report. For what it's worth, according to Mike Florio, Johnson's agent, Richmond Flowers III, has not responded to an attempt to contact him about Schefter's report. Flowers has not otherwise issued an denial of Schefter's report.

Falling short in terms of fully fleshed out reporting would be nothing new for Schefter. He carried water for the previous regime in Washington, offering former executive Bruce Allen final approval over a story he was ready to publish years ago.

As Florio wondered, did Schefter reach out to Johnson or Flowers before tweeting to his 10.7 million Twitter followers about an asking price that "spooked" teams?

Florio also landed on the agenda that could be in play.

"The teams spurned by Johnson have a clear reason to make it look like he was the problem, not them. They need to be able to create the impression that they got their first choice, even if they didn’t. They can’t afford to have the perception emerge that Johnson, after the interview, decided not to take one of only 32 jobs and the money that goes with it..."

It's an incredible reach to suggest Johnson simply priced himself out of a head coaching job this year. Even with the caveat that he or his agent would never say there was a high asking price.

But the teams Johnson spurned (most directly the Commanders) have reason to make him look like the bad guy, rather than let his sheer desire to stay in Detroit stand as the reason he rejected them.

So push the money narrative, right?

Two name-brand NFL reporters leaned into that crutch, in flimsy fashion until further notice. Or until there's any kind of comment about it from Johnson or Flowers.

Then Schefter, in a tweet about his contract status, subsequently suggested money is not Johnson's biggest motivation.

So which is it? Did (does) Johnson have a "spooky" high asking price to become a head coach? Or is money not his biggest motivation? There's some gray area there, which only reinforces the flimsy reporting about Johnson's supposed high asking price.

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