CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 12: Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a play in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Bucs just can’t seem to catch a break when attempting to sign a free agent defensive end.
On Tuesday night ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that free agent defensive end Charles Johnson would be re-signing with the Panthers. The Giants were also in the running, and reports said that Johnson was close to a deal with New York before deciding to stay in Charlotte, meaning the Bucs were actually third in the running to acquire the talented veteran defensive end.
Greg Hardy – Photo by: Getty Images
The Bucs attempted to sign Greg Hardy, Aldon Smith and Trent Cole under the watch of general manager Jason Licht last season but to no avail. And when they were able to sign one, Michael Johnson, it didn’t pan out as the former Bengal was released after a disappointing 2014 season.
There was as very strong interest from Tampa Bay for Johnson, who would have immediately been a starter on a defensive line that has struggled to provide consistent pressure from the edge since the days that Simeon Rice roamed the field at Raymond James Stadium.
Johnson, who spent the first nine seasons of his career in Carolina, recorded 63.5 sacks and 279 tackles in his career, including three double-digit sack seasons in 2010 (11.5), ’12 (12.5) and ’13 (11). He recorded six sacks and two forced fumbles against the Bucs during his time with the Panthers. Johnson had 9.5 sacks against new Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith when he was the head coach in Atlanta from 2008-14. Six and a half of those sacks came from 2012-14 when new Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter was the Falcons offensive coordinator, including a 3.5-sack performance at Atlanta in 2012.
Before missing the last seven games of the 2015 season with a strained hamstring, the Georgia product made 77 starts from 2010-14 after taking over for Julius Peppers at left defensive end. He finished the 2015 seasonin Carolina with one sack in the regular season, but recorded three sacks in each of the postseason games, including the Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver, along with two forced fumbles.
With the miss of Johnson, the Bucs will now look to regroup and go to Plan B, although what that is, isn’t exactly isn’t known. Former Bills standout Mario Williams has agreed to terms with the Dolphins, who also virtually locked my Olivier Vernon by placing the transition tag on him. Most likely the Bucs will be forced to look to the second-tier of free agent pass rushers now, like Chris Long, Wallace Gilberry, Jeremy Mincey and others.
The Bucs will also most likely address the position in the upcoming NFL Draft. Names like Noah Spence, Emmanuel Ogbah, Sheldon Rankins and others have been tossed about as possible first round defensive linemen picks for Tampa Bay in April.
And while the team and fans are looking for an impact defensive end, they may already have one on their roster if he can stay healthy. Jacquies Smith, an exclusive rights free agent will be re-signed, has been a force on the field when healthy, second on the team in sacks over the last two years with 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in just 18 starts.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark, I’m not sure we couldn’t catch a break…he came to town, we had a chance to talk about the framework of a deal that could hit his desk with a thud…and when our talk hit his desk with the weight of a feather he left town. I’m not sure what more we want…he was here, we stepped up to the mic…we chocked…I think Jason Licht is playing a very very dangerous game with his career this offseason…
Ahhhhh…edit button, edit button…choke, choke, choke
If Johnson was the only guy we’ve contacted of the released group then that is more short sighted than anything!
Williams and Johnson should have both been on speed dial well before 2 days ago!
Plan B, C, D, E, Oh well we’ll just draft 1 in the Draft?!?!?!?! Hello, you need 2-3 guys not 1…..
I’m glad he left town. All we needed was another FA DE named Johnson to flop here. Next we’ll draft another DE from Clemson!
Please…Impact DE might already be on the roster? Yeah…I’m sure we will see that… when monkey’s fly out of my ear.
The silver lining could be that if Licht is worth anything as a GM he must be crapping his pants right now and should be begging Martin to take a big pay check from him….he cannot lose out on Martin now and go into the draft needing both a RB and a DE….
Hearing that Bucs are nearing deal with Doug Martin at 6.85mil/yr per Rick Stroud! Whew! Victory from the jaws of “de feet”.
Sorry! Premature announcement. Doug suddenly realized he’s in the driver’s seat here with Miller and Ivory off the board. lol. So back to the table again, but they’re still working on it!
Where did Miller go? I thought he was still a FA.
So glad we didn’t sign this old bum. 1 sack in 9 games and no PR he did not have 3 sacks in each of the post season games as you stated in your story. He definetly would have been a waste of money next year.
Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you. Let’s hope we can at least salvage the “Muscle Hamster,” Wednesday. I hate to say it but it almost seems like some of these high profile free agents are either using Tampa to jack up their worth or avoiding the Buc’s because of our loss record or revolving door when it comes to coaches. It will be interesting to see how the rest of Free agency plays out, especially for non DL agents. One other thing to remember is several articles recently about Licht not competing for the big ticket items even though we have plenty of cap space. Let’s go to sleep hoping that Martin will be on board soon.
Always a lot of speculation with few known facts in this afternoon’s start of the free agency period. As Steve Dumig would say, “You think you know…….but you don’t know.” Me, I just wait for what happens when it happens.
If that story is true @mac ($6.85m, and Martin turned it down), Licht should be fired today….quit F$&@’in around over the $0.115m’s trying to save a few bucks….if he’s worth $6.85m, then he’s worth $7m for sure and probably more….Martin at say $7.5m is an infinitely better deal than Ivory for $1 as our starting RB….
Ivory got a 5 year 30+ million contract. At least 6 mil per year. No way we get Douggie for anything less than 9 mil a year. At the start fo FA I didnt think he was worth more than 8 mil but seeing what some of these backs are getting I would be willing to pay him 9 mil per year as long as its not gauranteed. If his production declines drastically then we can cut him with no dead money.
EastEndBoy, don’t put the entire blame on Licht.
It has become very apparent to me a dictum has come down from above from the Glazer boys to try and squeeze every last penny out of each and every deal.
Why do you think all these lower end contracts are getting done.
What surprises me is how the cap challenged Dolphins were able to sign Williams and we didn’t show any interest in him.
The answer is probably the Bucs thought they could get Johnson for less money than Williams.
All of this penny pinching philosophy is coming from above and the above is the Glazer boys trying to run the franchise like a Hoolligans Restaurant.
We saw how this business model worked before with Hugh Culverhouse.
I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact I am turning in my season tickets after 35 years. I will no longer actively financially support this miserly way of doing business.
If you believe, as I do, that this is what the Bucs are doing, then I would send them a letter or email stating as such.
If you have season tickets and want to support owners in their efforts to make the Bucs a second team tier just to further enrich themselves, that is your business.
I no longer will.
Then what are you still doing here Drd? Stop threatening to leave and just do it. Or maybe research a little. The Bucs offered him more money than Carolina, he just wanted to go back. And you wanted the same Mario Williams who had 18 total tackles last year? The same who was constantly loading on plays? But that won’t fit in your boring narrative.
You’re a borderline troll at this point. Man up and just pick another team already and stop talking a about it. No one in here cares if you’re a Bucs fan or not. I certainly don’t.
Im glad the Bucs didn’t sign “super mario” or johnson. Its so hard for an aging free agent to come in and make an impact immediately and they may only have a few years left. I would rather the Bucs take a flyer on ex-FSU/Colt Bjorn Werner for peanuts. He’s young, has something to prove, is familiar with the heat, and has the size Mike Smith and Coach Hayes seem to like in DE.
I wouldn’t mind taking a shot on B. Werner for something near the league minimum about two weeks into free agency. With his body type in college he was never a fit for the 3-4. I know we’re supposed to be running some type of hybrid crap now, but if we keep Werner’s hand on the ground, work him like crazy on a weight room and diet program I think he could be a good DE. That’s also assuming he’ll be coached better here, which I hope he will.
Now that is a guy I would like to see brought in. I never knew why the OClts picked him up for that scheme as like you said, he’s a 4/3 guy all the way form FSU. Worth a look, maybe Jameis can whip him inot shape.
Why do you guys annually want to win the FA season???
Haven’t you all seen the stats of the teams that win FA?
We remember the feeling that we got to sign players like Simeon rice and brad johnson back in 2001. True difference makers
At least we won’t have another F.A. bust named Johnson. Don’t want us to win F.A., but would like to at least play the game. We can’t just sit on 60 million? I’d like to see us come out of this with the tackle from Cleveland, and Vernon from Miami.
I understand my friend. Be patient. I promise you have compitent and well prepared leadership in place. Notice how there are many tumors funneling from AZ, NE, PITT, GB, and others. Winners are strategic and don’t pay good players elite money.
Again, I promise you this all will shake itself out. Great players rarely hit the market. Many teams that award those big contracts also off-load them after a year or two. The draft is the way to go and specific players. The culture is changing in Tampa and I’m excited to see it.
*aren’t many rumors
Damn. To me he would have been the rare FA signing that actually worked out. Productive guy, plays a position that can be productive into their 30’s and he was from a division rival.
As usual cgmaster, you are still having trouble with your reading comprehension.
Try going back to grade school level and take one, then I wouldn’t have to make you sound so foolish.
Cgmaster, you also seem to have a hard time understanding the team concept that you can still support and follow a team without aiding it’s owners financially.
Why is this concept so difficult for you to understand.
Of course reading from a lot of these posts, I can understand why the Glazers think they can get away with this philosophy.
I have never seen so many people posting about getting cheap bargain basement players before in my life.
Those people must all shop at Wal Mart.
You want a successful model of how to run an NFL team look to Eddie DeBartolo or the Patriots owner.
Players used to love to play for DeBartolo even before FA because he treated his players like valued members of his company and family.
He could get away with paying cheap salaries because they were captive but didn’t.
The Patriots, year after year, are always right under the salary cap.
in regards to your poor reading comprehension skills, please reread my post and see if there was anywhere within the text that says I wanted either Williams or Johnson.
I was just using the two players as an example to support my theory the Bucs ownership is a pair of penny pinching miserly greed heads who are using a failed business model like Hugh Culverhouse’s to run this team into the ground to further fatten their wallets.
Do you think they are putting those huge obscene big screen TV’s for the Buc fans to enjoy?
It is to increase their ad revenue and also make the stadium a more attractive to venue to rent out to big time events like the NCAA college championship game.
Every penny, every dime that people spend at those events and in stadium, the Glazer boys get a slice of.
Grow up cgmaster. This is nothing but a business to the Glazers and I don’t have a problem with that except for the fact they are using a failed business model.
If I had stock in a company like this I would dump it as fast as a woman with a social disease.
And yet you’re still here moron.You say you’ll never get anything different. And yet you bore us with posts about money that isn’t even yours. Let’s go spend like it’s 2014. How did that work out genius? And yet you’ll watch every bucs game and buy beer and food this supporting them. That not only makes you a tool, but a hypocrite. Points is I’m a grown up who just can’t stand for stupidity. Why don’t you grow up, take your ball because your upset the Galzers are rich and you’re not, and get a new team. Real simple, yet you keep slithering back to these message boards.
All the FAs we should be targeting seem to be coming off the board…well on the positive side, that means we should have less trouble paying the Dougernaught. Also, Miami lifted the transition tag from Vernon so maybe we can still snag him
Now that the Dougernaught is locked up we need to hit the DE options hard…if Licht and company decide to go for “value” then Howard from KC doesn’t seem like a bad option if Vernon is “too expensive”
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