WEDNESDAY, 7:31am: Johnson has officially signed his new one-year deal with the Panthers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
TUESDAY, 7:47pm: Johnson’s one-year pact will be worth $3MM, tweets Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, so Johnson will take a $8MM pay cut to stay in Carolina. According to Person, Johnson turned down as much as $6MM elsewhere to re-sign with the Panthers.
6:30pm: Just days after being released by the Panthers, defensive end Charles Johnson plans to return to the only team he’s ever known, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Johnson will re-sign with Carolina. It’ll be a one-yer deal, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
After being cut by the Panthers on March 3, Johnson quickly lined up suitors, taking visits with both the Giants and the Buccaneers. Johnson almost went to New York, as he tells Anderson (Twitter link), but admitted that his “heart was in Carolina” — indeed, Johnson tweeted a cryptic message earlier today, indicating that many observers would be surprised by where ended up.
Johnson was scheduled to earn $11MM in 2016 (between his base salary and a workout bonus), as well as account for a $15.02MM charge on the Panthers’ cap, and it’s safe to say that Johnson will earn less than that total on his new contract. Johnson was thought to have refused a pay cut before being released, so evidently he and the club have negotiated an acceptable figure since that time.
The 29-year-old Johnson has been the Panthers’ most reliable pass rusher over the last several years, recording at least 8.5 sacks in every season from 2010 to 2014. However, his 2015 campaign was derailed by a hamstring injury, which landed him on the injured reserve list with the designation to return, sidelining him for nearly half the season.
In nine regular-season games in 2015, Johnson recorded just 12 tackles and a single sack, easily making it his least productive year since his rookie campaign. He showed flashes of his old self during the team’s postseason run though, picking up three playoff sacks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.