One of the emerging stars from the Lions’ playoff defense in 2014, George Johnson is now back with the team that gave him his NFL start.
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The Detroit Lions have traded DE George Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for two draft picks.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Lions and Buccaneers have agreed to a swap of late-round picks to allow Johnson to join the Bucs under the three-year, $9 million offer sheet he recently signed.
In 2014, Johnson recorded 6.0 sacks as well as a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and 29 tackles for a Lions defense that finished 3rd in points allowed and 2nd in yards allowed en route to an 11-5 regular season record – the team’s best since 1991.
According to ProFootballTalk, the Lions had challenged the offer sheet because the package can de-escalate by $2 million. Since de-escalators aren’t listed in the relevant portion of the labor deal as a type of variable payment that constitutes a “principal term” in an offer sheet, a question arose as to whether the Lions had to match the higher amount or the lower amount to keep Johnson.
Johnson was originally signed by the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 2011 but never did anything more than spot duty in nine games played for them over the course of two seasons. He played in just two games for the Minnesota Vikings from 2012 to 2013 before signing with the Detroit Lions in 2014 and emerged as a young stud for the Lions defense.