John Johnson Turned Down More Money To Sign With Browns

The Browns added a big piece to their defense when they signed safety John Johnson last week, and they apparently faced steep competition for his services.

Johnson turned down “significantly more money” from another team to sign with the Browns, his agents told Mary Kay Cabot of He was clearly very excited about the prospect of playing for this upstart Browns team that is coming off their best season in decades. It’s a sign of how much the times have changed that players are now taking less money in order to sign with the Browns as a destination in free agency.

Imagine if someone had told you that a few years ago. Johnson signed a three-year, $33.75MM pact with the Browns that included $24MM guaranteed, and was arguably the top safety on the market after guys like Justin Simmons, Marcus Maye, and Marcus Williams all got franchise tagged by their respective teams.

Johnson’s AAV of $11.25MM has him as the eighth-highest paid safety in the NFL currently. Shortly before he signed with Cleveland we heard the Lions, Eagles, and Jaguars were pursuing him, so it’s possible it was one of those teams that offered him the bigger contract.

The Rams opted not to tag him for financial reasons, but Johnson has been a really good player since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2017. He played every snap for a Los Angeles defense that was best in the league last season, and won’t turn 26 until December. Johnson will start next to either 2020 second-round pick Grant Delpit or Ronnie Harrison in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (14)
newest oldest

14 comments on “John Johnson Turned Down More Money To Sign With Browns

  1. diehardcardsfan22

    12-4? Wondering how long that Secondary is gonna take to get comfortable

  2. forwhomjoshbelltolled

    Did Mr. and Mrs. Johnson not know their own last name when they named him John?

  3. kayjaygee626

    Chargers probably offered more but because of Cali high taxes he chose Cleveland

    • paulk

      Would make a lot of sense seeing Chargers HC Brandon Staley coached him last year with the Rams.

      • bravesfan88

        Yeah, but he probably would have taken it, considering his familiarity within the system.

        Id say it was most likely the Lions that offered the bigger deal, which it wouldn’t be all that much of a surprise if he declined it. Especially, considering, he knows they’re likely destined for a rough year next year, and he wanted no part of it..

        Also, let’s not get all caught up with the fact he turned down what is being reported as “significantly more money.” Contracts can be extremely misleading, and that other offer, in all likelihood, wasn’t significantly more guaranteed money. It’s likely just him and his agent endearing themselves to the Cleveland fanbase…

        His Browns deal assures him of 24mil, but is written as a 3yr, 33mil deal..He also could have been offered a 40mil guaranteed deal, that was wrote up as 4 yrs and 45mil…

        Which would technically mean he turned down more money, but it was at a lower annual rate…Or it could have been just simply more years than he was comfortable signing for..Meaning he just really wanted to hit the open market again at or before his age 30 season..

        In the grand scheme it really doesn’t matter, because he ultimately chose the Browns, and they got themselves a quality player. Johnson and Delpit could form to make a very solid pairing, especially with Harrison as their backup and a very solid box safety..

        The Browns have quietly assembled a quality roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them have a solid draft as well…yet again!!

        • bravesfan88

          If they can get someone like Ojulari from UGA, or another pass rusher opposite Miles, and some help at LB, and then some OLine Depth they’ll be set and ready to make a real run towards the playoffs…

          On paper, they truly don’t have very many more holes to fill, so it’ll really come down to staying healthy for this squad. Right now, I’d probably pick them to even finish over the Ravens, and likely have about the 3rd best record in the AFC..

          • getoffmylawn

            I’m glad to see you suggested that the Browns could use O-line depth, even though it was a strong area of the team last year. Injuries happen all the time, especially on the O-line, and it’s important to keep the line an area of strength, as it was the engine that kept the offense operating well last season. It’s unbelievable what Bill Callahan accomplished as line coach last year but he still needs talent and depth with which to work.

  4. BloodySox

    A player taking less money to play for the Browns? What a world we live in.

  5. rocky7

    He turned down lots more money to play in Cleveland Say’s his agent….yeh sure….nothing but marketing spin from that dude!

    • I guess I can understand why someone would choose a winning team (at lower pay) than to play for the Eagles, Lions, or Jags. The Jags may be decent in a couple years, but the Lions and Eagles are currently complete dumpster fires. I’d rather make $11+ mil on a good team and enjoy myself than make $12-$13 mil and be miserable.

      • rocky7

        Good point, but in todays day and age, when both the NFLPA and their own agents are pressing for the “best deal” it would indeed be rare for a player to opt to play for less money on a team that doesn’t offer the best contract they can score…..if there was a substantive difference in offers, hard to fathom but maybe as I said, there really wasn’t too much difference in the offers and a team that made the playoffs last year and is primed for a pretty successful next couple as compared to a bottom dweller wasn’t in fact too hard to pass up.
        Also, the ‘other” teams such as the Eagles, Lions, or Jags really haven’t been identified by anyone as yet and maybe we’ll never know…..the better teams have more leverage in contract offers as compared to the bottom dwellers..basically, you have to overpay when you stink!

Leave a Reply