Bucs Sign Michael Johnson
The Buccaneers upgraded their pass rush on Tuesday, inking DE Michael Johnson to a five-year $43.75 million contract with $24 million in guaranteed money. Johnson is now the league’s fourth-highest paid defensive end.
With Lovie Smith in at head coach, the Buccaneers will shift defensive philosophy to a more aggressive edge rushing defensive front. Johnson was the top defensive end on the market, and his presence will give the Bucs one of the league’s more robust defensive lines with Johnson lining up along side Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn.
While Johnson only managed 3.5 sacks last season, he was among the league’s top pass rushers, posting 61 QB pressures (sum of sacks, hits, and hurries) while also recording an impressive nine batted passes. Johnson has also put up 50-plus total tackles in each of the last two seasons.
In terms of fantasy value, this signing certainly doesn’t hurt Johnson’s value. However, it’s unlikely he gets any significant boost either. At 27 years old, he’s still in the prime of his career, but he’s not in a situation where we can expect Johnson to emerge as an elite level fantasy option to rival the likes of J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn.
Still, Johnson slots squarely in the back end of the DL1 tier. Owning Johnson has certainly been a roller coaster ride in the past, and that won’t change in Tampa. There will be weeks where he goes out and fills up the stat sheet with multiple sacks. Likewise, he’s just as apt to post a fantasy goose egg. Like with most defensive linemen in IDP leagues, you take the good with the bad.
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Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.