It didn’t take recently cut defensive end Michael Johnson to find a new home.
Adam Schefter reported on Sunday morning that Johnson will return to the Cincinnati Bengals after one disappointing season with the Buccaneers.
To make matter worse, Johnson leaves the Bucs making another $7 million and is set to make $14 million in 2015.
From the beginning of OTAs last spring Johnson never seemed to be a good fit in Tampa Bay. In January one of Johnson’s agents, John Thornton, was on a radio show and talked about the relationship between Johnson and the Bengals.
“I think they (the Bengals and Johnson) both missed each other,” said Thornton.
“What Mike did is he allowed everyone else to rotate, because he was an every down guy. Mike wasn’t a great pass rusher, no, but he was really good against the run, he was decent against the pass at that is a huge value, because he helped everyone else be great. That is where we all missed the boat……Mike got a great contract, he was hurt most of the year in Tampa. I felt we could have done more to keep him here (Bengals). It is something you learn in the business. You don’t always have to go for the biggest contract. I felt we could have got it done and they both missed each other.”
Some fans are upset that the Bucs haven’t been more active in free agency, but Tampa Bay is wary to offer big guaranteed money to free agents after the debacle with Johnson, and also offensive lineman Anthony Collins who was also released last week. The Bucs have a number holes to fill including on the offensive line and at defensive end but it appears the team will attempt to fill those roles with lower priced mid-level free agents, draft picks and preseason cuts from other teams.
Will it be enough? Only time will tell, but after the mistake of cornerback Eric Wright, the unfortunate health situation of guard Carl Nicks and the flameout of Johnson and Collins, it may be a while before you see the blank checks signed by the Glazers passed around freely during the second week of March.
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, the beach and family time.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
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