George Johnson

Saints To Sign DE George Johnson

The Saints are signing defensive end George Johnson, who recently worked out for them, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). To make room, offensive tackle Bryce Harris has been released. George Johnson (vertical)

Johnson will help fill the void after rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson went down with an ankle injury. He’s probably not in line for a ton of playing time, but he’ll be an option to relieve defensive linemen Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata, and Hau’oli Kikaha.

The 30-year-old Johnson put himself on the NFL map with a six-sack season for the Lions in 2014. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, he wasn’t quite as sharp in 2015 when he came on board. He then lost the following season to a hip fracture. He reunited with Detroit this year, but he totaled just two tackles in four appearances.

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Saints Work Out Nolan Carroll, George Johnson, Others

The Saints did some revamping at cornerback this week, signing both Sterling Moore and Dexter McDougle. But they worked out a player who commanded more money this offseason in Nolan Carroll.

Other recently cut defenders took part in a workout in New Orleans today as well. Defensive ends George Johnson and Malliciah Goodman and fellow edge defender Jayrone Elliott received auditions, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). However, none of these talents signed with the team today, per Caplan (via Twitter).

Carroll, who signed with the Cowboys on a three-year deal worth $10MM, also worked out for the Redskins since being released in October. The 30-year-old defender started two games for the Cowboys this season and 16 for the Eagles in 2016.

The Lions cut Johnson when they claimed fellow edge player Kasim Edebali last week, and Elliott has now worked out for more than a fourth of the NFL’s teams since the Cowboys cut him this season. The former Packers backup auditioned for the Colts, Seahawks, Patriots, Redskins, Texans, Giants, Jets and 49ers prior to trekking to New Orleans.

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Lions Claim LB Kasim Edebali

The Lions have claimed linebacker Kasim Edebali off waivers from the Broncos and waived defensive end George Johnson, the club announced today.Kasim Edebali (Vertical)

Edebali, 28, had appeared in nine games for Denver this season, but hadn’t made a dent on defense, as he’d seen only 55 defensive snaps on the year. His real action had come on special teams, where he’d played on more than 60% of the Broncos’ snaps. Detroit general manager Bob Quinn has shown a willingness to pay for special teams prowess in the past, and Edebali comes cheap — he’s only due about $400K for the remainder of the 2017 campaign.

Johnson, meanwhile, leaves the Lions after only 24 hours, as the club has just re-signed him on Monday. Detroit has employed Johnson at various points during his career, including his career season in 2014 when he posted six sacks. Injuries and ineffectiveness have marred Johnson’s recent output, but given his familiarity with the Lions’ defense, it wouldn’t be surprise to see him back in Detroit at some point later this season.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/14/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Lions Claim QB Brad Kaaya

The Lions have claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers and signed a pair of players – defensive end Jacquies Smith and offensive tackle Bryce Harris, per Field Yates of ESPN.com and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). To make room, the Lions have cut defensive linemen George Johnson, Datone Jones and Caraun Reid.Brad Kaaya (vertical)

Kaaya first broke into the league as a sixth-round pick of Detroit in 2016. Although he didn’t have the arm strength of others in his class, scouts were enamored with his football IQ and poise. When he was displaced from the Lions’ roster in early September, the Panthers were there waiting to grab him off of waivers. Now, he’s back where he started after the Panthers booted him in favor of Garrett Gilbert.

Smith, 27, was a serviceable edge rusher for the Buccaneers (13.5 sacks combined in 2014 and 2015) before a torn ACL shut him down just one game into the 2016 season. This fall, he was cut by Tampa Bay, freeing him up to try out for the Lions this week.

Johnson spent the 2014 season with the Lions and proved to be an effective edge rusher. They circled back to him this year and they were optimistic about what he could do.

He’s still the same guy that works extremely hard, heavy-handed guy that can make some things happen and the rest of it we’ll see,” coach Jim Caldwell said in September. “I mean, he had an outstanding year that year, and those are hard to duplicate, but he will contribute to our team.”

Johnson had six sacks for the Lions in 2014, but he recorded just two tackles in four games for them this year.

Jones signed with Detroit on October 10, but did not suit up for the Lions in their last game. He never got to actually play for the Lions, but on the plus side, he can say that he has been with three of the NFC North’s four teams.

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NFC North Notes: Packers, Perry, Lions

Packers coach Mike McCarthy isn’t offering up a lot of details about Nick Perry’s hand injury, but a source tells ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky that the injury is not as bad the broken hand he suffered last year. In fact, this time around, it’s only one finger that requires treatment. When Perry broke his hand last season, he had to have multiple screws placed into several broken fingers. To his credit, he didn’t miss much time after last year’s surgery and returned to action in time for the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

This is all relatively good news, but there’s still no timetable for Perry’s recovery just yet and, privately, one has to imagine the Packers sweating a bit after giving him a five-year, $60MM contract this offseason.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • George Johnson’s first workout with the Lions this year didn’t go as planned. The veteran defensive end showed up out of shape and was told to address that before circling back. It took only two weeks for Johnson to shed ten pounds and prove himself, leading to his deal this week, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News writes. Now, the Lions are optimistic about what he can bring to the table in his second stint with the club. “He’s still the same guy that works extremely hard, heavy-handed guy that can make some things happen and the rest of it we’ll see,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “I mean, he had an outstanding year that year, and those are hard to duplicate, but he will contribute to our team.” Johnson had six sacks for the Lions in 2014.
  • PFR readers don’t have a ton of faith in the Bears‘ ability to bounce back from their 0-2 start.

Lions Sign DE George Johnson

The Lions have signed defensive end George Johnson. To make room, Detroit has waived fellow defensive lineman Alex BarrettGeorge Johnson (vertical)

Johnson spent the 2014 season with the Lions, a campaign sandwiched by his two stints with the Buccaneers. He was quietly effective in that season, appearing in all 16 games and earning a positive grade from Pro Football Focus. The Lions are hoping that he can still be an effective pass rusher in 2017.

Johnson’s second stint with the Bucs came to an end earlier this month when he missed the 53-man cutdown. Tampa Bay saved $2.25MM by terminating his deal in advance of Week 1.

In the process, the Bucs get themselves off the hook for his $2.25MM salary, which would have become guaranteed if he was on the roster for Week 1.

Unfortunately, Johnson hasn’t seen the field since the 2015 season. Last August, an ACL tear shut him down for the year.

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Saints Work Out Will Beatty, Jaye Howard

The Saints auditioned edge rusher Lamarr Houston earlier today, but he wasn’t the only notable NFL veteran to work out for New Orleans today. Here’s who the Saints looked at on Tuesday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (all Twitter links), Adam Caplan (Twitter links), and Howard Balzer (all Twitter links):

Beatty is perhaps the most high-profile name of the bunch, as the veteran offensive tackle 63 career starts under his belt (all for the Giants). Having served as a backup last season, Beatty would presumably play right tackle for the Saints, who are down to Senio Kelemete on the right side following starter Zach Strief‘s MCL sprain. Ola, too, would give New Orleans depth along their front five, although he doesn’t offer nearly the experience that does Beatty (only 19 starts).Ricky Jean-Francois (Vertical)

As Caplan noted, the Saints essentially worked out the majority of the top free agents on the defensive side of the ball, and that comes as no surprise. Despite throwing free agent funds and draft picks at its defense, New Orleans ranks dead last in yards, 31st in scoring, and 31st in DVOA through two weeks.

Douzable, Howard, Jean-Francois, Johnson, and Langford have all served as quality starters in the very recent future, and Douzable (49ers), Howard (Bears), and Jean-Francois (Packers) have each signed contracts earlier this offseason only to be released later. Wilson, meanwhile, repeatedly bounced on-and-off the Bears’ roster a year ago, and also has a previous stint in New Orleans.

Per Pelissero, the Saints’ Week 4 contest in London is a factor in the club working out such a long list of players right now. Given that New Orleans won’t have much time to audition veterans in the coming weeks, the team will likely update its emergency list now before heading across the pond.

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Buccaneers Cut DE George Johnson

The Buccaneers are getting a head start on roster cuts. The team has released defensive end George Johnson, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweetsGeorge Johnson (vertical)

The move brings Johnson’s second stint with Tampa Bay to an end. In the process, the Bucs get themselves off the hook for his $2.25MM salary, which would have become guaranteed if he was on the roster for Week 1.

Unfortunately, the 29-year-old (30 in December) hasn’t seen the field since the 2015 season. Last August, an ACL tear shut him down for the year.

An undrafted free agent in 2011, Johnson originally signed multiple contracts early in his career with the Buccaneers, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the club. He was quietly effective in 2014, appearing in all 16 games for the Lions and earning a positive grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), largely thanks to his excellent pass-rushing acumen. In 2015, Johnson appeared in eleven games for the team, tallying 23 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Johnson’s release could bode well for defensive end Jacquies Smith making Bucs’ roster to start the year, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Smith has been on the PUP list throughout the summer.

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Buccaneers’ George Johnson Done For Season

The Buccaneers announced that defensive end George Johnson is done for the season and going on injured reserve, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Johnson went down during Thursday’s practice with an injury that has yet to be disclosed, though Jenna Laine of ESPN.com hears that it’s a hip fracture. George Johnson (vertical)

[RELATED: Buccaneers Not Shopping QB Mike Glennon]

The Bucs acquired Johnson and a seventh-round pick from the Lions last offseason in exchange for a fifth-round choice. Initially, the Buccaneers signed the defensive end to a three-year, $9MM offer sheet as a restricted free agent, but the Lions contested the proposal, arguing that they did not have to match de-escalators in the latter years of the deal since the RFA rules were ambiguous in that area. Without those de-escalators, the Lions only would have had to give Johnson a $7MM deal to retain him. Ultimately, however, the two teams were able to work something out.

An undrafted free agent in 2011, Johnson originally signed multiple contracts early in his career with the Buccaneers, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the club. He was quietly effective in 2014, appearing in all 16 games for the Lions and earning a positive grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), largely thanks to his excellent pass-rushing acumen. Last year, Johnson appeared in 11 games for the Bucs, tallying 23 tackles and two forced fumbles.

To fill Johnson’s spot, the Bucs have signed defensive end Martin Ifedi. The 6’3′, 275-pound athlete spent part of last season on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad and was with the team this offseason until being waived in May.

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