Tom Johnson

Vikings Want To Re-Sign Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson is set to hit the open market next Thursday, but the Vikings would like to keep him in the fold. The defensive tackle says the Vikings have “interest” in re-signing him, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). 

Johnson, for his part, would “definitely like to return,” but cautions, “you just never know how free agency is going to unfold.” The 34-year-old (35 in August) adds that he not looking for a multi-year deal, which should help his cause with the Vikings or any other interested club.

Last year, Johnson left the Vikings to sign a one-year deal with the Seahawks. In need of a roster spot before a September showdown with the Bears, the Seahawks cut him with the hope that they could quickly re-sign him to the roster. The Vikings swooped in and spoiled Seattle’s plans, signing Johnson to a fresh one-year deal.

In 14 games (13 for the Vikings, one with the Seahawks), Johnson tallied 4.5 sacks and 24 total tackles. Johnson ultimately graded out as just the No. 94 ranked interior defender in the NFL out of 112 qualified players, per Pro Football Focus, but the advanced metrics have never been high on the veteran.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Patriots, Cowboys, Bills

Reports of discord within the Patriots‘ organization are nothing new, but a new book by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor has shed even more light on the dynamic between head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. In “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,” O’Connor reports that Brady would “divorce” Belichick if he could, but feared alienating New England fans after the Patriots traded backup (and possible successor) Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers last season. “If you’re married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him,” a source told O’Connor. Brady will return for yet another season with the Belichick and the Patriots after agreeing to a revised contract that includes multiple performance-based incentives.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Cowboys, perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t have any interest in re-signing veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant, as executive Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). “Don’t necessarily see that at this moment, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” Jones said. “Obviously we’re focused on the guys that are on our team at the moment.” Dallas is currently fielding arguably the league’s worst receiving corps, as complementary options such as Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, and Allen Hurns top the club’s depth chart. Bryant, though, wouldn’t be a clear improvement after a disappointing 2017 campaign. Now 29 years old, Bryant has been linked to multiple clubs this offseason, but only came close to a contact with the Browns, who could still opt to sign him.
  • Speaking of Bryant, the veteran receiver was a factor in Brice Butler re-signing with the Cowboys this week, per Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, who notes Bryant told Butler to head back to Dallas if the opportunity presented itself. As Hill tweets, the Cowboys called Butler after a Week 1 loss to the Panthers, so his addition was in the works for awhile. Butler, who had spent his entire career in Dallas before signing with the Cardinals this spring, signed a two-year deal, per Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’ll earn the veteran minimum of $790K in 2018.
  • Before signing with the Vikings earlier this week, defensive tackle Tom Johnson drew interest from the Bills and Browns, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Johnson, whose release from the Seahawks precipitated his free agency, was in fact close to signing with Buffalo before Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson — who led Johnson in Minnesota from 2014-17 — reached out. Seattle also expressed interest in re-signing Johnson, but his number of suitors allowed to him to a land a one-year, $1MM deal from the Vikings, one that includes $500K in incentives.

Vikings To Sign DT Tom Johnson

Late last week, the Seahawks released defensive tackle Tom Johnson in order to free up a roster spot. The plan was to re-sign him this week, but the Vikings have spoiled their plans. 

The Vikings have agreed to bring Johnson back to Minnesota, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). When finalized, it’ll be a one-year deal with a base of $1MM that can be worth up to $1.5MM, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. In conjunction with the $1.865MM that he already earned from the Seahawks, he has the potential to earn more than $3MM this year.

The 34-year-old spent four years with the Vikings before inking a one-year deal with Seattle in March. Johnson played in at least 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in each campaign and saw a career-high 68% playing time last season.

Pro Football Focus graded the veteran as roughly a league-average defensive tackle in 2017, as he ranked 60th among 122 qualifying interior defenders. He finished out with just 17 tackles and two sacks, but the stats did not reflect his total value to the Vikings’ defense.

The Seahawks did not want to lose Johnson, but they were in a pinch following an injury to safety Delano Hill. Seattle signed Shalom Luani for depth, but he did not play in Monday night’s contest against the Bears.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks To Release DT Tom Johnson

For the time being, Tom Johnson is out of a job. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the Seahawks are releasing the veteran defensive tackle. The team needs an extra roster spot for Monday’s game against the Bears, and they’ll “likely” re-sign Johnson next week.

Back in March, the 34-year-old signed a one-year deal with Seattle that could be worth up to $2.7MM (Pelissero notes that Johnson’s contract has already been guaranteed). The defensive tackle was coming off a four-year stint with the Vikings during which he played at least 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in each campaign. Johnson saw a career-high 68% playing time last season, and he finished the year with 17 tackles and two sacks. Pro Football Focus graded him as roughly a league-average defensive tackle, as Johnson ranked 60th among 122 qualifying interior defenders.

The 2006 undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss started the Seahawks’ season-opener against the Broncos, compiling a single tackle. With the team in need of a roster spot, they decided to temporarily release Johnson, leaving them with Jarran Reed, Shamar Stephen, Nazair Jones, and Poona Ford as their options at defensive tackle.

Seven players sat out practice for the Seahawks yesterday, with three of them unlikely to play: offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, linebacker K.J. Wright, and wideout Doug Baldwin. Cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, linebacker Bobby Wagner, and safety Delano Hill also sat out. The team already added one notable player to their team this week, signing free agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, Matthews

Sam Darnold‘s itinerary is starting to come into focus. He will spend Friday with the Broncos in Los Angeles working out for Denver brass, Albert Breer of SI.com reports (on Twitter). This will come after Darnold spends Wednesday in Cleveland visiting the Browns. Josh Allen is also expected to visit the Browns on Wednesday. As for the Broncos, they’ve now been linked to meetings or workouts with Darnold, Rosen and Baker Mayfield. And it would seem likely, judging by the type of quarterback prospects John Elway has invested in during his GM tenure, that the 6-foot-5 Allen will also meet with the Broncos. Denver signed Case Keenum but is participating in a thorough process to determine whether they should follow the 2016 Eagles’ or 2017 Bears’ routes by subsequently adding a high draft choice at football’s marquee position. Or, this could be partially about setting up a possible trade-down scenario.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions.

  • Eric Decker‘s best seasons came as Peyton Manning‘s No. 2 wideout, and the eight-year veteran remains a UFA. In Denver for non-football reasons, the 31-year-old receiver expressed interest in returning to the Broncos. “There’s no holdup on my end. Whoever you need to call for me, whoever you need to reach out to, please do,” Decker said in an radio interview with former Broncos wideout Brandon Stokley (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, Twitter link) this week. “Everything’s got to align; the stars have to kind of align for it to all work. But I’m very receptive to make it happen.” The Broncos have needed a No. 3 wideout since Wes Welker‘s exit, with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders having to carry most of the aerial attack’s load over the past three years. Decker caught 54 passes for 563 yards and a touchdown for the Titans last season, playing in all 16 games after suffering severe injuries in 2016.
  • Jordan Matthews is seeking a deal worth at least $5MM per year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com tweets. The Cardinals had an offer out to Matthews, but that was before news of their Brice Butler signing emerged. Matthews also visited the Packers and Patriots.
  • John Schneider said Barkevious Mingo was “pretty much” the Seahawks‘ top priority this offseason, and Pete Carroll detailed (via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com) what the former top-10 pick’s role will be in Seattle. Mingo will slide into the spot Bruce Irvin used to occupy, playing outside linebacker in base sets and shifting to defensive end on passing downs. Schneider said the former LSU standout will have more pass-rushing opportunities with the Seahawks than he’s had at other stops. Mingo has recorded two sacks over the past three seasons.
  • Despite Tom Johnson being a Vikings starter last season, the Seahawks want his former teammate who trekked to Seattle with him, Shamar Stephen, to be a starter over Johnson this year. Henderson notes Stephen, not Johnson, is in line to start alongside nose tackle Jarran Reed. Seattle’s eyeing the soon-to-be 34-year-old Johnson as a rotational presence. A 16-game starter for the 2016 Vikings, Stephen played a depth role behind Johnson and Linval Joseph last season.
  • Jordan Taylor is now the clubhouse leader to be the 2018 Broncos‘ punt returner, but he won’t have a chance to work with the team over the offseason. Multiple hip injuries required surgery on one hip labrum and rehab on the other. He won’t be available until training camp, per Troy Renck of Denver7.

Contract Details: Gore, Osweiler, Waddle

Some details on recent free agent deals:

  • Brock Osweiler, QB (Dolphins): One year, $880K ($790K base salary + $90K signing bonus). $630K guaranteed (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9 News Denver).
  • Frank Gore, RB (Dolphins): One year, $1.105MM. $90K signing bonus (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • LaAdrian Waddle, OT (Patriots): One year, $1.5MM. Includes $800K base salary, $200K signing bonus, $50K workout bonus and $450K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN).
  • Tom Johnson, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $950K base salary, $900K signing bonus, $250K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).
  • Shamar Stephen, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $800K base salary, $1MM signing bonus and $300K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).

Seahawks To Sign DT Tom Johnson

The Seahawks have agreed to sign defensive tackle Tom Johnson to a one-year deal worth up to $2.7MM, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Seattle witnessed the Vikings poach interior defender Sheldon Richardson last week, and now the Seahawks have done the same to Minnesota by signing Johnson. Of course, the 32-year-old Johnson isn’t the caliber of player that is Richardson, but he’ll give Seattle depth along its defensive line as the club enters something of a mini-rebuild.

Johnson is coming off a four-year run with the Vikings during which he played at least 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in each campaign. In 2017, Johnson saw a career-high 68% playtime, and posted 17 tackles and two sacks during that time. Pro Football Focus graded him as roughly a league-average defensive tackle, as Johnson ranked 60th among 122 qualifying interior defenders.

The Seahawks, who have also met with Vikings free agent Shamar Stephen, will add Johnson to a defensive tackle group that also includes Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Garrison Smith, and — depending on his health — 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Notes: Johnson, Richardson, Newman

Now that the Vikings have Sheldon Richardson set to add to an already stacked defense, the team is probably going to move on from previous defensive tackle starter Tom Johnson. Rick Spielman does not expect Johnson to return, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (on Twitter). The Vikes were previously open to a Johnson re-up, but that was before Richardson agreed to terms. Johnson turned down a $4MM extension offer last year that would have kept him alongside Linval Joseph on Minnesota’s front in 2018. But now, a menacing-looking Joseph-Richardson setup will be deployed. The Seahawks lost Richardson and now have interest in the 33-year-old likely-to-be former Viking.

Here’s more from the Vikings, courtesy of Tomasson.

  • Terence Newman has expressed interest in returning for an age-40 season, and Tomasson tweets he would like that to be with the Vikings. However, he wonders if Newman — who counted nearly $4MM toward Minnesota’s 2017 cap — would be a fit at that price now that major dollars have been allocated for big-name talent this offseason. The Vikings still have nearly $20MM in cap space but also have several key extension candidates entering contract years.
  • Spielman is confident Richardson has left his off-field trouble in the past. The former defensive rookie of the year encountered legal trouble while with the Jets, resulting in suspensions in 2015 and ’16 — the former a four-game ban. “We did a lot of research on that. That was maybe 2 1/2, 3 years ago,” Spielman said, via Tomasson (on Twitter). “We talked to a ton of people about it. … I felt very confident with him coming into this culture into our locker room that he’ll fit right in.’’
  • The Vikings cut Jarius Wright after six seasons on Friday. The team kept him in the loop throughout this process. The 28-year-old pass-catcher added the Vikings alerted him a cap-casualty cut was a possibility. “They had come to me and let me know that it was a possibly with some of the contracts they were looking at,” Wright said, via Tomasson (on Twitter). “They kept me updated.” It’s possible Wright, who was set to make $3.64MM in base salary next season, could be brought back at a lower rate.

Seahawks Interested In DT Tom Johnson

Vikings free agent defensive tackle Tom Johnson is scheduled to meet with the Seahawks on Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Johnson reportedly also has drawn interest from the Raiders and Bills

The Vikings are trying to hammer out a deal with Seahawks free agent Sheldon Richardson, but it has been said that they would like to retain Johnson as well. The Vikings and Johnson might not see eye-to-eye on his value, however. Johnson asked for a one-year, $4MM extension last season, but the Vikings refused. If Johnson can get an equivalent deal elsewhere, he might be a goner.

The Seahawks would like to keep Richardson, but it appears that they will not be able to keep up with the outside bidding for him. Johnson can help fill that void, though he can’t personally replace his production.

Johnson has 16 sacks to his credit over the last four seasons. He’ll celebrate his 34th birthday in August, so he’s probably looking at a one-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders, Bills Interested In Tom Johnson

The Bills and Raiders have expressed interest in Vikings free agent defensive tackle Tom Johnson, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Johnson, 33, is seeking a two-year deal “for the highest salary he can get since it might be his last big contract,” Tomasson adds.

Last year, Johnson appeared in all 16 games and managed 23 pressures two sacks from the interior. He reportedly asked for a one-year, $4MM extension last season, but the Vikings refused, which could give an idea where Minnesota stands on Johnson’s value.

Heading into free agency, Johnson ranked PFR’s No. 9 free agent defensive tackle.