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March 11, 2014 @ 10:35 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Tampa Bay Signs DE Johnson To 5-Year, $43.75 Million Deal

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Desperately needing a speed rusher, the Buccaneers made a big splash in free agency, signing Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson to a five-year deal worth $43.75 million. Over the past two seasons, Johnson has produced 15 sacks and two forced fumbles.
The Buccaneers are poised to make a big splash at the start of free agency by signing Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson to a five-year deal worth $43.75 million, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. The deal includes $24 million in guaranteed money.

The 6-foot-7, 270-pound Johnson was franchised last year by the Bengals following a career-high 11.5-sack campaign, but underwhelmed with just 56 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. That prompted Cincinnati to opt to re-sign fellow defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a big contract extension instead of Johnson. The Bengals drafted Johnson’s replacement last year in second-rounder Margus Hunt and will not be re-signing him.

Johnson, a former third-round pick in 2009, is only 27 years old and has plenty of upside and will be coached by defensive line coach Joe Cullen, a Rod Marinelli disciple. Johnson was one of the hottest free agents this year as seven teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, who hired former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer as the team’s head coach this offseason, had shown interest in him. But Johnson wanted to be in Tampa Bay to play for head coach Lovie Smith right from the start and reportedly didn't negotiate with any other team aside from Tampa Bay.

Johnson, who entered the league with 4.69 speed in the 40-yard dash, has recorded 26.5 sacks, 205 tackles, 25 passes defensed, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in five years, but only has one double-digit sack season, which came in 2012. His previous best was a six-sack campaign in 2011.

Smith made a similar type of free agent splash in Chicago in 2010 when he signed Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers to a six-year, $91.5-million contract to upgrade the Bears’ pass rush. Tampa Bay has a tremendous need for an impact pass rusher on the outside as the team is lacking speed off the edge. The Bucs’ leading sacker the past two years has been Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who had five sacks in 2012 and a career-high nine sacks in 2013.

Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim were the Bucs’ starting defensive ends last year for most of the season and combined for just seven sacks. Clayborn had six of those while rebounding from a torn ACL that cost him most of the 2012 campaign, and is entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Te’o-Nesheim signed a one-year tender worth $1.323 million as a restricted free agent last year and was a huge disappointment with just one sack. He was later replaced in the starting lineup late in the season by rookie William Gholston, who finished with two sacks and made a strong case to contend for a starting job in 2014.

The Bucs also have Da’Quan Bowers, a former second-round pick in 2011, under contract for one more season. Bowers has been dinged up with minor injuries throughout his career and has been a bust thus far, notching just five sacks in three years. Tampa Bay drafted defensive end Steven Means in the fifth round last year, but he struggled in his adjustment to the NFL and rarely played.
Last modified on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 21:37

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  • avatar

    I welcome him and think he will be our Simeon Rice Replacement we have long needed. I am getting a feeling the Ole Buc's D line will be forming again...Need another Sapp and D Brooks...OBD
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    I think he is solid. Unfortunately we paid him like an A-/B+ DE. He isn't that. These day 1 signings usually come back to hurt the teams that do them.
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    We gave alot of money to a player who is good not great, but thats the game of free agency, the good news is he is better than any DE we have on the roster although thats not saying much
  • avatar

    Keep them coming, we have a long way to go!
  • avatar

    Well Bucs Fans I have been with the Bucs since day one and Tomorrrow is here. That one piece of the puzzle for 2014 with I believe five more Veterans FA will sign and come on Board with Lovie Smith and Team-GO BUCS
  • avatar

    BTW, SR or Mark or fellow Buc Fans: CBS Sports has Johnson's stats listed as 3 (THREE) forced fumbles and 9 Pass Defensed for his 2013 season. PR says 2. Am I getting my stats from the wrong source?
  • avatar

    michael bennet is better LOL #StillGoBucs
  • avatar

    I'm surprised. I know the deal is ALL on the guaranteed $$, but I thought this was a $10Mil guy. I guess with Dom he would have been. I love (LOVE) this pickup. Length, Speed, Athleticism. These things mean something STILL in the NFL. We have a battle tested DE with Range & Solid against the run. Better than anything we could have got at 7th in the Draft. I don't know what Means can do. But, if Johnson, McCoy, Goulston are our starters with Bowers gone and Clayborn floating, (or Bowers and AC floating) I'm really happy with our DLine. In a Gruden-esque way, I need even more out of McCoy. Grab these guys. Make them family, and be the Big Brother.
  • avatar

    Dom would have paid him $16million...lol
  • avatar

    Hello Pinkstob, I sent you a private message! I should say that in my double man coverage, I've seen Revis come off his man and int for a Td a hb coming into the flats! This was in the redzone also!
  • avatar

    Thanks Flash, I'll take a look. Right now I'm in the top 2.5% amongst the 100,000 ranked players, but I'm always looking for an edge to get better. :-)
  • avatar

    I'll be interested to know how fast these ideas spread . . . !
  • avatar

    Nice move, now we get Collins who is Johnsons friend and save the Jet fuel. Like how this FA is starting out. Now it sure would be nice to get something for Revis. It sure looks like Licht and Lovie have a plan and are working well together. This team will look much better after this year's FA and draft. Maybe we could be a contender this year.
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    I think this is a fantastic pickup: The right player for our defense at the right price. We signed him for so cheap we could keep or release Revis and it would have no impact on keeping Johnson. Good job Licht! Hey Flashgordon, what defense are you running in Madden? For whatever reason Revis plays awfully in my opinion relative to how good he is in real life. He doesn't cover well in man coverage or bump-n-run, especially against speed WR's. He also drops a lot of INT's. I win a lot of games, but it ain't 'cause of of Revis. I just want a another opinion of what defense to run to see if I can squeeze out even more wins. When I need to stop the pass on 3rd & 6 or longer I usually call a Cover 4 zone and put everyone in bump-n-run with 3-2-6 personnel.
  • avatar

    Hello Pinkstob, I sent you a private message!
  • avatar

    I love this move! For around 8.5 million a year is actually under the 11 million most said he would fetch in the market. I know some will say he only had 3.5 sacks last year, you have to realize last year he played most of it In a 3-4 scheme where his job was to take up tackles while the linebacker got to the quarterback. McCoy has to be licking his chops knowing what he's working with now and I see him breaking the ten sack mark this year. Great first move. Now we need to sign mccluster, some oline like those mentioned, possibly move back in the draft and get Donald or OT if the top three are still there or even erbon. Guess a lot of this will depend on revis. Otherwise we have to sign a couple db's stat. Also what does anyone think of larondo McClain is working hard to come back. I believe if his head is right he is a real force. He dominated at Alabama and maybe working with movie could help him out in all facets of life. Plus he would come cheap. Just one mans thinking. I for one am excited about this new bucs regime so far. I even like the uni's
  • avatar

    Also just saw that the brown are interested in trading for Darelle revis. They haw the cap space and boy it would be nice getting their first and probably third. I'm dreaming I'm sure but man we could instantly change this team. I wait on every word haha
  • avatar

    This is a very good move. Now lets get Collins the Center. Cut Penn and Revis, and add a couple other Free Geants. Sign McCoy to a new contract now with some of that available cap money.
  • avatar

    Seems to me, this years draft is deeper in Des than Dts; I would have targeted a Dt.
  • avatar

    Michael Johnson will look good in Madden though . . . unfortunately, without Revis, I won't be able to do some of the D I've been doing;
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