“I’d rather lose with these guys than win with anybody else,” Johnson said. “These are my guys. I know they come to work every day. I can play with them and have fun and do what I want, and also work at the same time. There’s not a lot of places where you’re going to be able to do that.”
Johnson, 30, is posting an excellent season during his 10th year with the Panthers, playing on nearly 60% of the club’s defensive snaps while registering four sacks and three forced fumbles. He’s graded as the league’s No. 23 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, and as head coach Ron Rivera told Person, Carolina is also interested in a reunion next season.
“It’s about that steady, consistent play. I know people want to see these double-digit sack numbers. But what you see with Charles is the impact he makes throughout the game, the way he plays the game,” Rivera said. “And he’s been a tremendous leader. We’ll see how it all goes, but I’d love to have him back.”
Johnson, originally due $11MM in 2016, was released by the Panthers during the spring, but ultimately found his way back to Carolina on a one-year, $3MM pact. The Panthers could see other changes along their defensive line in 2017, as defensive tackle Kawann Short is headed for unrestricted free agency, while Star Lotulelei‘s fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.