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Buccaneers sign George Johnson to offer sheet, Lions can still match

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed defensive end George Johnson to an offer sheet, the team announced Tuesday. Johnson is a restricted free agent who was tagged by the Detroit Lions, which means they get a chance to match the contract offer. If they decline, Johnson will be a Buccaneer -- otherwise, a Lion. Detroit has five days to decide whether they want to match.

Johnson was set to earn $1.54-million before the Bucs made an offer to him. The Buccaneers could be making it very difficult for the Lions to match, as they have nearly $30 million in cap space while the Lions have only $3.6 million, according to Over The Cap. No details on the offer sheet are known right now.

Johnson has actually been a Buc before. From 2010 through 2012 he was with Tampa Bay, on the practice squad and occasionally the roster. In total, he played nine games with no sacks for the Bucs during that period, but he flashed some potential and stood out to me. He was with the Vikings in 2013 but didn't play in any games before the Lions signed him last year. He had a minor breakout season, notching six sacks in 16 games as a backup, starting no games at all.

Those six sacks aren't dominant, but they're better than anything the Buccaneers have on their roster. The Bucs probably view him as a starting defensive end, probably opposite Jacquies Smith who also notched six sacks as a part-time starter last year.