The Buccaneers announced that they have signed Detroit defensive end George Johnson, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet. The deal is for three years, but terms were not disclosed.

The Lions have five days to match the offer, but will receive no draft pick compensation from the Bucs if they don’t. Detroit signed Johnson to the lowest restricted offer tender of one-year for $1.54 million.

Johnson, who signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Rutgers, and remained with the Bucs through the 2012 preseason before he was released. Johnson notched a team-high three sacks in the 2011 preseason, but was placed on injured reserve later that year with a knee injury.

After an uneventful two-year stint in Minnesota, Johnson signed with Detroit last year and notched 29 tackles and the first six sacks of his career. The Lions might not match Johnson’s offer because they are bringing back five defensive ends from last year’s team – Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp and Larry Webster, last year’s draft pick. Detroit also signed former CFL standout Phillip Hunt.

With defensive end being one of the weaker positions in terms of talent and production, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Johnson would be a welcome addition, especially with the recent departure of Michael Johnson, a free agent bust from a year ago. The 27-year old Johnson still has plenty of upside that defensive line coach Joe Cullen and new assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer can develop.

Signing Johnson would also take some of the pressure off Tampa Bay in terms of having to select a defensive end early in the draft.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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macabee
macabee
6 years ago

Welcome back George! That 3 year term is the poison pill that will scare the Lions away. Add to that the fact that they are loaded at DE and have only 3mil under the salary cap and still have to have money to sign draft picks.

IF they are so inclined to do so in the next 5 days, they would have to get both Matt Stafford and Megatron to re-do their contracts to clear cap space.

Like I said, welcome aboard George!

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  macabee
6 years ago

Good comment macabee. Iagee and I donot understand why he was let go back then!. Now Tampa has a DE that kinda of know the system but its this time with Lovie Smith and company.Now they can get a DE or DT later in the 2015 Nfl Draft.I would if I was Tampa pick Winston or Mariota at #1 at#2-Get that big Ot from Stanford in Aundrus Peat. He has been moved down because Humphries from florida moving up. Then get a good RB in Rd-3 or 4. or get thew LB in Rd-3 or 4. AND kEEP gLEN UNLESS… Read more »

BucWild02
BucWild02
6 years ago

Good move Bucs! I hope the 2nd time around is more productive for Johnson.

Afrika
Afrika
6 years ago

Nice pick up. Now,just pick up 1 decent and experienced o-line man, and we are ready for the draft.

Afrika
Afrika
6 years ago

Go ‘Bucs !!!!

76Buc
76Buc
6 years ago

Good analysis Mac. Afrika, I’m with you…OL!

makski
makski
6 years ago

Way to go Bucs !! I knew you could come up with at least an average, experienced DE before the draft. We did pretty well last year with less in M. Johnson, so it is a good addition. Now I wouldn’t mind also bringing in C. Wooten for some more experience and competition at the position. At least now, on paper, we don’t need to spend a premium pick on a DE. Now if we can just go out and overpay a little for Wisinewski, that would be unbelievable! We would have flexibility to draft whoever we wanted!! Just tell… Read more »

georgehicks
georgehicks
Reply to  makski
6 years ago

Well Maksi I agree with you. Offensive linemen Wisniewski wants to play center. Well Tampa let him know that he could play that offensive Center position and sign him. But also play him after he signs someother Offensive Line positions. But get him sign Tampa. Sign him for 3 years also. What do you think of my seniaro! Makski;Horse or any of the bucs fans that make comments.Go Bucs GLHicks classmate of 1964 HB Plany High School.

Roland
Roland
6 years ago

Nice job, but any chance Detroit matches and then trades him for a 7 to someone else… I hope not.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
6 years ago

Interesting – but still hard to imagine how we ended up in a place where the best DE on our team is a guy we signed off the scrap heap, let go, washed out, got a third chance and did meh (6 sacks is okay but not exactly lighting the league on fire), and now is back in our fold…and we’re super glad to have him!

grafikdetail
grafikdetail
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

premium passing rush DEs that get double digit sacks are very hard to come by now… a guy may have a breakout year but then it’s back to mediocrity…so you have a lot michael johnson types getting paid via free agency now because everyone is so desperate for pass rushers… which i hope this pickup mean we won’t waste a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a pass rusher that probably will not get more than 3 or 4 sacks per year anyways

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

I think this option is better than the last Johnson. There’s more chance of him playing above his contract than below

pinkstob
pinkstob
6 years ago

Great move Licht! I’ve liked Johnson since he was in college. Never should have let him go in the first place. I agree with the posters above that this contract offer won’t be matched and we don’t have to spend a high draft pick on a DE. Most of all it shows that Licht and his scouting staff are evaluating the DE’s in the draft well since they recognized there really aren’t any game changers available in the 2nd round and beyond. Go Bucs (wow that’s the 2nd one I’ve been able to say this year)!

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

Hello Buc Fans. The 2015 Nfl Draft is starting to shake up at this. Is Winston has more Red Flags. What Happens if Tampa doesn’t take Him or Does Tampa Take Him. will Tenn take the Qb from Oregon. And my last seniaro. What is chip kelly going to do if Winston and his qb Mariota not advaliable! If he going to complain. I think everything he haS DONE THIS YEAR WILL BACKFIRE. IT COULD HAPPEN.

jongruden
jongruden
Reply to  georgehicks
6 years ago

How desperate are we for talent? When fans use the “wow” factor on guys like George Johnson. While this was move we have to make considering we had William Gholdson on the first string this not an exciting move to say the least, we could have just resigned Clayborne and had the same value at the position

plopes808
plopes808
6 years ago

Good pickup, we now have a decent DE at a good price and one less need to fill in the draft. Now to get us another OL and we’ll be ready for the draft…QB,OT,WR,BPA

Horse
Horse
6 years ago

I wonder how much of the three year deal is guaranteed? For me, he is just another rotation filler; nothing special about him.

makski
makski
6 years ago

OK everyone, we all know he is probably not going to be a 12-15 sacks a year kind of guy. But can he be a 8-12 sack guy? I think he can. It obviously all depends on how much he plays. He played very little in Detroit last year, so all of you that are complaining that he only had 6 sacks, he did it with very little playing time. If he can play a little more often here, and gets 2 or 3 more sacks, that will be 8 or 9. Not bad considering what else is left in… Read more »

Buctebow
Buctebow
6 years ago

They can’t get 1 player at DE that can do it all, so they need to get enough rotational role players that as a group come close to one good DE. That is just the best they can do for now. It’s not exciting and certainly not optimal, but it is a good fall back position, if the draft doesn’t yield magic.

plopes808
plopes808
6 years ago

I think anyone that’s thinking a 3rd round DE will come in and out perform this guy is probably fooling themselves. Even if he only manages 6 sacks, we have GMC who did 8 last season although he missed several games, and on the other end we have Smith who pulled 6 sacks with minimal playing time. Add it up and that’s 20 sacks among 3 DL without playing the full season…not bad if you ask me.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  plopes808
6 years ago

I agree that there is no better DE we’ll draft…it will be DE by committee and hope for the best. However, just as a point of reference 20 sacks would have been dead last in the league last year. The best teams get 50+. I know we will have more than these 3 DL, but the rest of the gaggle aren’t going to get many sacks at all – if our top 3 only get 20, we probably don’t surpass 35 for the year as a team…bottom third performance. That’s why when 1 DE can get 15 by himself (or… Read more »

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  EastEndBoy
6 years ago

True, but I think the only chance of getting that level of DE came and went with Hardy. Our interior line will get good pressure with GMC/McDonald/Melton so we don’t necessarily need all star DEs (although that would be more than welcomed.) Smith will get more playing time and most likely more than his 6 from last year. Hopefully GMC will stay healthy and be at or near double digits. Also, don’t forget with a legit OC and QB our offense should improve and give our defense time to rest. Fresh defenses will mean more production across the board. Cautiously… Read more »

deeznuts
deeznuts
6 years ago

good signing- he’ll be an asset to our depth/rotation at DE. I’d still like to see us draft DE Danielle Hunter (LSU) in the 3rd. The guy is a physical freak of nature 6’5 255lb, 4.55 40. He needs coached but has loads of potential

georgehicks
georgehicks
6 years ago

Buc Fans lets look at all the offensive linemen that will be available when the draft comes around at the end of the month.What it Tampa after they select the QB. And go after 1 LB,!-Cb, and the rest offensive and defensive linemen.Tampa would have depth onboth sides of the ball plus Tampa can get a rb,te,wr thru undraft college freeagents.

Uncle Stan
Uncle Stan
6 years ago

Can someone PLEASE let the rest of us know why we let Johnson go and now why he’s suddenly well worth bringing him back.

owlykat
owlykat
6 years ago

Think taking George was a good move. Not as a starter but a rotational rusher! We still need another DE in the draft and our rush should be better this year!