Like Chubb and Reed, Johnson, 31, was a regular throughout Fangio’s Denver stay. Fangio’s arrival soon led to a regular role for Johnson, who played alongside Josey Jewell for three seasons in Denver. A 2021 pectoral injury, however, stalled the off-ball linebacker’s momentum.
Coming into the NFL at 26 due to an off-field issue, Johnson played in just one game as a rookie in 2018. Early in the 2019 season, Fangio inserted the Tennessee alum into the starting lineup to spark the Broncos’ run defense. Pro Football Focus graded Johnson as that season’s third-best off-ball ‘backer. In 2020, Johnson totaled a career-high 124 tackles. Between those two years, Johnson forced four fumbles.
Prior to his October 2021 pectoral tear, Johnson received a second-round RFA tender to stay in Denver. However, this injury and having turned 30 just before his first free agency bid effectively scuttled Johnson’s market. The Seahawks signed the former UDFA late last year but only used him in one game. The Dolphins will provide a late-summer opportunity. Teams must finalize their 53-man rosters by 3pm CT on Tuesday; they can begin assembling their practice squads the following day. Clubs can keep up to six vested veterans on their 16-man taxi squad.
The Dolphins signed David Long to play alongside Jerome Baker at linebacker. Duke Riley and Andrew Van Ginkel are likely locked into backup jobs, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. Channing Tindall, a third-rounder last year, has not enjoyed a quality training camp, per Jackson, though it is unlikely the Dolphins give up on him after two offseasons. Though, Tindall only played nine defensive snaps last year.
In addition to the Johnson signing, the team waived linebacker Mike Rose and waived safety Myles Dorn with an injury designation Thursday.