The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have confirmed earlier reports that they've signed Michael Johnson to a five-year deal worth $42.75 million, with $24 million in guarantees. That places Johnson in the middle echelon of defensive ends, well below the market-leading $16 million per year given to Mario Williams in 2012. The Bucs also confirmed the signings of defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to a four-year deal, and tight end Brandon Myers to a two-year deal.
The team will hold a press conference at noon tomorrow to introduce the team's new free agents.
Johnson had just 3.5 sacks last season, but Pro Football Focus had him putting up 61 quarterback pressures. That's outstanding production, even if those pressures weren't converted to sacks. Johnson put up 11.5 sacks the year before, so there's plenty of reason to believe he can be very productive either way. In Tampa, Johnson will also get to play next to All-Pro Gerald McCoy, which should help his numbers significantly.
The Bucs earlier announced new deals for KR/PR Eric Page and CB Deveron Carr, both exclusive-rights free agents. Other reports had Josh McCown visiting the Buccaneers, the team re-signing G/T Jamon Meredith, and former Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith visiting the team. Dexter McCluster had been linked to the Bucs, but signed with the Titans, instead, while the Bucs have also been linked with Steve Smith, OT Anthony Collins, Charles Tillman, Henry Melton and Devin Hester.
The team hopes to fill all of its holes in free agency, allowing them to select the best available player in the draft. For now, it still has some pretty big holes on the offensive line, but they're doing a very good job of filling every other possible hole.