Learning From Mistakes

February 23rd, 2015

michael johnson 0805A Dunedin dentist once left Joe’s mouth all screwed up and screaming for pain medication and Valium.

Joe never returned to that dentist.

Real life can be very simple sometimes. And so can managing a football team, if you’re willing to evaluate players based on performance and not let ego, salary considerations and misguided hope get in the way.

Joe believes the Bucs’ 2015 decision on defensive end Michael Johnson should be an easy one: Wave goodbye.

“Ghastly and ghostly” described Johnson’s play in 2014 — and that was playing alongside arguably the best defensive tackle in the game.

SportsOnEarth.com scribe Kenneth Arthur looked at Johnson today in a piece on free agency regrets. Even the spreadsheet data is bad on Johnson.

Michael Johnson, Buccaneers

Contract: Five years, $43.75 million, $18 million guaranteed

Johnson turned a good 2012 season (11.5 sacks) into a big free agent deal in 2014, despite a poor 2013 (3.5 sacks) because teams are just that desperate to find pass rushers. It’s not as though Johnson is a bad defensive end by any means — he’s quite good — but his talents did not translate well to Lovie Smith’s defense during his first year in Tampa.

After recording 10 batted passes on the defensive line in 2013, he had zero in 2014. He also had just four sacks and 15 QB hurries, per ProFootballFocus, and that ranks him in a tie for 38th place in QB hurries among 4-3 defense ends with Lamarr Houston, another 2014 free agent bust.

Joe’s beating a deal horse a bit here. But Johnson also appeared in an article today on the Bengals’ official website (yes, Joe’s a psycho when it comes to NFL research), and it seems the Bengals are longing to replace their beloved Johnson. (No, Joe doesn’t expect any sane individual to trade for Johnson.)

As that Bengals.com story notes, NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock claims this is the best class of edge pass rushers in years. This definitely isn’t the year to put more faith into Johnson.

35 Responses to “Learning From Mistakes”

  1. Harry Says:

    Joe, seeing such a large portion of his 2015 salary is guaranteed, does it not make sense to keep Johnson for depth as the Bucs are going to be paying him most of his salary anyway?

  2. salish_seamonster Says:

    I think the Johnson question revolves around a several questions.

    1) Does the LNL regime believe his performance was significantly hindered by injuries and learning a new system? Do they believe there is reason to believe he can be significantly better in 2015?

    2) Will their other needs (say OL) prevent them from drafting a DE who can make an impact from day 1?

    3) What can they get from free agency?

    4) What is the cap hit difference between keeping him and cutting him – call it X – and can he perform up to X this year? Can they get a better performance from a free agent getting paid X?

    I think he’s owed too much guaranteed, and thus the cap hit from cutting him will be heavy. Given that, it’s probably going to make more sense to keep him and hope for a lot better. If it weren’t for those guarantees, he might have been cut already.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I think we make the gamble that his play will improve significantly and we keep him.

    The gamble is minimized because there is only $2m in cap savings if we cut him.

    Surely he can play to that level…..let’s take the chance that he was hindered by injury.

    If we cut him as Joe suggests….we save $2m….a drop in the cap/budget….bucket.

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    As if Lovie didn’t have enough problems, he has to explain to everyone about a non-performing Johnson…..

  5. knuckledragger Says:

    I see what you did there Tom

  6. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Oh…by the title I thought this was another Jameis Winston story…..

  7. deminion Says:

    As long as we get rid of Goldson I’m cool

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Damnit….it’s not just any Johnson….it’s Lovie’s Johnson…and if performance is a problem…it’s only Lovie that can solve it.

    Lets have a Lovie’s Johnson Performace Poll….

  9. WS99 Says:


    I see what u did there. Lol

  10. WS99 Says:

    I’ve called us team cialis on more than one occasion.

  11. jfat Says:

    If the Bengals want him so bad…trade, otherwise, he’ll be here next year. Maybe having a slightly competitive team will get his motor going.

  12. cmurda Says:

    @ Joe Joe’s beating a deal horse a bit here. But Johnson also appeared in an article today on the Bengals’ official website

    Joe, if you’re beating that deal horse, tell us what teams are willing to give up to get to the #1 pick. Are the deals so tasty we should think about moving down a couple spots?

  13. DallasBuc Says:

    “Joe believes the Bucs’ 2015 decision on defensive end Michael Johnson should be an easy one: Wave goodbye.”

  14. sethb22 Says:

    The real question is do the Bucs feel they can get someone better for the $2 Million we save by cutting him? Is that $2 Million man a situational pass rusher or can he play the run as well. Johnson was good vs the run. (I know his job is sacks) But what value do you get for the $2 million dollars in savings?

    $2 Million doesn’t get you much value in the Pass Rush Department.

    So what does that equal for the bucs? Investing more money than the $2 Million savings… How much money gets you a better pass rusher with more potential?

    6 Mill?
    8 Mill?
    10 Mill?

    How much should the team allocate to 1 position?

    I think you have to eat it for the year and hope for the best. JMO

  15. DallasBuc Says:

    Dump that embarrassing sack of sht regardless of how much it costs. Maybe the price tag to do so will encourage Lovie and lapdog to actually do their homework next time around. With this loser gone we can go after a real pass rusher like Greg Hardy. Put that bad man next to GMC and offenses will have to respect our pass rush for a change.

  16. Hawk Says:

    Keeping or waiving their Johnson is not just ‘$2mil’. Can the Bucs get a decent DE for $2mil? No, but if they budgeted $3mil for a FA DE, by dropping their Johnson, they can go after a $5mil FA.

  17. Hawk Says:

    Excuse the wording of the above post. Darn ‘grammar correct’. ;^)

  18. LargoBuc Says:

    40 million and 18 million guaranteed is alot for an average starting DE. Johnson was supposed to help our defense through the growing pains. Now we got more holes to fill and less cap space to work with.
    I would much rather have us bring Clayborn back for much less $.

  19. tgreg Says:

    Speaking of mistakes, why aren’t you clamoring for a trade for your man-crush of last year? I am sure Johnny F can be had for a pittance!

    Joe knows QBs lol

  20. Rob Says:

    Johnson is safe this year. He needs to prove it or he’s gone after this one though.

  21. salish_seamonster Says:

    Sign Clayborn for a low number AND keep Johnson unless you can draft a starting DE. Even then, it makes more sense to keep Johnson if you can get some decent snaps out of him as a backup and part-time starter or rotational guy.

  22. unbelievable Says:

    Comment of the day to mr. Tom edrington !

  23. unbelievable Says:

    He will be on team this year b/c unless it comes down to truly needing that 2m we would save, there’s no reason to have 7m in dead money.

    We hope his play improves.

    If not, the Lovie better show some balls, and bench him. At that point, he becomes an overpriced backup that we cut at the end of the season.

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    We’re probably too pot committed to him at this point to dump him. He cannot be relied on to be our right defensive end next year though, that much I do know. Give him a go against some right tackles and maybe he can be servicable on that side for a year.

  25. DallasBuc Says:

    Just because you crafted a lousy contract that guarantees way too much money for a lousy football players doesn’t mean you double down in year 2 because of the sunk cost. As far as I’m concerned it’s worth $7mil of Glazers money to get this bum off the roster freeing it up for the possibility of a real football player instead. McCown, Collins and Johnson were the trifecta of terrible football players that were paid way too much money to suck ass. Nice job Lovie and lapdog!

  26. mac Says:

    They can’t cut Johnson… There is no way the idiot Buc brass will let John son walk away and keep $9 million he is still owed…

    We have no choice but to keep him for one more year and hopefully he has another solid season…

  27. ddneast Says:

    If the Bengals would pick up his contract I would give him back for a conditional 7th. Wishful thinking. This guys contract and cap hit is just so debilitating they almost have to keep him.

  28. DallasBuc Says:

    Nonsense. It is sunk cost. Cut bait. Move on and get a real pass rusher.

  29. Berdj Joseph Rassam Says:

    Guys like him do not come along as a dime a dozen. Still, you don’t want to deal with a player whose heart is not into it, or is not going to play at full potential. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

  30. lion Says:

    Sorry Joe, can’t do it nor does it make sense to do so after one year where he was injured. Not when $7 of his $9 million is guaranteed and will be counted against the cap. He deserves one more year with that aspect and if he doesn’t do anything then he will 100% gone next year. Cutting him now would a very unwise move.

  31. DallasBuc Says:

    ^^^Keeping bad football players on your roster because you foolishly overpaid them is “unwise”

  32. pick6 Says:

    can’t look at what you’re paying him. his “value” is the money we save by cutting him minus the cost of his replacement, and by that measure the risk\reward on michael johnson is pretty good. unless you are getting a guaranteed upgrade for $4 or $5 million you’re well served standing pat for a year. if you don’t like what he’s giving you, cut him during the season and make an emphatic statement. sadly, if there’s one thing the bucs have never had a problem doing, it’s finding room for other teams’ practice squad players towards the end of a lost season

  33. pick6 Says:

    *not saying he should be penciled in as a starter, just that he ought to get the invite to training camp and probably make the final 53 unless he looks more lost than the late round and undrafted players he’ll be competing against

  34. Teacherman777 Says:

    Mike Glennon is faster than Jameis Winston!!!

    Dont draft winston!!!


  35. Phillip Says:

    I feel bad for the people you teach… This is coming from someone who wants us to draft Marcus as well.. This article is about Michael Johnson..

    It’s not just the money we would be saving if we cut MJ90.. It’s the fact that we would be sending a CRYSTAL CLEAR message to EVERYONE on the Bucs and future FA signings… If we pay you good money and you don’t preform you get the embarrassment of getting cut after a year.. I would do it for that reason alone.. Ya it’s hard to find a replacement for that $2 million but say you signed a player for $4 million a year and he preforms then guess what?You actually only payed 2 million more a player that is actually producing instead of someone taking up a roster spot and that isn’t..