The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a very interesting and talented roster already, will add one of the best free agents of this year.
Former Bengals defensive end MIchael Johnson has agreed to a deal with the Buccaneers, ESPN's Josina Anderson reports. The contract can't be officially executed until free agency starts at 4 p.m., but the details are in. ESPN said it is a five-year, $43.75 million deal with $24 million guaranteed. That could end up being the most guaranteed money any free agent gets this season. Johnson, with 26.5 career sacks in five Bengals seasons, was one of the few young pass rushers slated to hit the market that hadn't already been locked up before free agency started.
The Buccaneers are an interesting team. There's a lot of talent at almost every position and they have the seventh pick of the draft. They had the salary cap room to add one impact free agent, and are set to do that with Johnson. They're also apparently willing to make the odd decision to dump cornerback Darrelle Revis, one of the best players in the NFL, because of his high salary and the fact that Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith appears inflexible about his zone defense, which would make a great man-to-man corner like Revis less valuable. Tampa Bay also seems intent on using valuable resources to replace Mike Glennon, last year's best rookie quarterback, for a mediocre veteran.
So Tampa Bay has a great start on the 2014 season, even if it seems intent on making some regrettable choices along the way. Johnson shouldn't be one of those poor decisions. Assuming there is no last-minute issue with Johnson's deal, Tampa Bay has apparently won the sweepstakes for one of the hottest free agents on the market, before free agency even started.
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