Lions & Bucs Will Trade For DE George Johnson

April 15th, 2015

lovie 1110bThe Bucs tried to add a lively, young emerging pass rusher, Lions restricted free agent George Johnson (no relation to ghostly, ghastly Michael Johnson), but Tampa Bay was quashed Monday by Detroit, via some sort of annoying technicality appealed to the NFL.

But now it seems the paperwork will be torn up and the Bucs and Lions will execute a trade for the defensive end, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. He took to Twitter to share the news this morning. Per Stroud, the Bucs and Lions will swap late-round picks (no details) and Johnson will be a Buccaneer.

Joe’s not doing jumping jacks, but this is a great move for the Bucs. Johnson was a successful rotational edge rusher last year (six sacks) who came on late in the season. Tampa Bay is desperate for live, young bodies at the position. Johnson is at least that.

The Bucs can use Johnson to team with Jacquies Smith, T.J. Fatinikun, Larry English and Lawrence Sidbury, the four top defensive ends Lovie identified to Joe at the NFL Owners Meetings last month.

How much Johnson might earn is unclear. The Bucs’ initial restricted-free-agent offer to him was $3 million per season.

The Bucs have done everything they could to beef up the RDE position before the draft. In March, Tampa Bay was in hot pursuit of Trent Cole and put significant guaranteed money on the table, but Cole opted for the Colts. The Bucs even soiled themselves courting Greg Hardy and oily super agent Drew Rosenhaus.

And then came the surprise Johnson offer.

It sure smells like Tampa Bay doesn’t want to be forced to draft a defensive end in the draft. So it can load up on offensive linemen to preserve Jameis Winston.

78 Responses to “Lions & Bucs Will Trade For DE George Johnson”

  1. JBoo Wins Says:

    I hope this lessen the need to draft a DE early. Unless the Bucs are able to trade down off they second round pick, that pick and the 3rd round should be used for O-line help so Jameis doesn’t get killed.

    Go Bucs! Go Jameis!

  2. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    Great. With Licht doing the trade, we’ll get reamed.

    There is no reason this trade should be taking place. WTH! We made an offer WITHING THE FREAKING RULES!

    Now suddenly, Goodell dips in his nose and Jason Licht backs off? Grow a pair of balls, Licht!

    Now as a result, we’ll end up with one less pick??!!!!!

    OMG, I have about had it with this crap.

  3. Tom Says:

    Explain something to me Joe

    I know he’s a restricted free agent but that’s still a free agent. How can the Lions trade him if he’s not necessarily under contract?

  4. JBoo Wins Says:

    @Buccaneer Bonzai

    Calm down buddy. They are swapping late round picks. The Bucs are not loosing a pick

  5. JFat Says:

    Right on with this: “It sure smells like Tampa Bay doesn’t want to be forced to draft a defensive end in the draft. So it can load up on offensive lineman to preserve Jameis Winston.”

    I think Johnson locks in an OL for at least the round 2 pick.

    I’m guessing it’s a swap of 6th round picks. Moving the Bucs from the 8th pick in that round to the 24th. The Lions don’t have a 4th or 5th round pick.

  6. P'cola Buc Says:

    Exactly Joe ……..offense again… QB, OT, G…..Lovie certainly showing fortitude letting all that defensive talent in draft go, but in reality has to go this route. Winston says thank you to Lovie.

  7. Nflfan Says:

    Not sure where the writer gets his info. Came on late in the season? He fizzled late. Had 4 sack in first 6 games. 2 in the last 10.

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    Giving up ANY pick for this joker is exactly why Loive will NEVER build a consistent winner. Good teams don’t give up picks for journeyman players that have been cut multiple times. This is just another stupid lovie move.

  9. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Word is they’ll swap later rounds. So knowing Licht, we’ll give up a 5th and they’ll give us a 7th, because that’s all Licht can get us.

    This is dumb@$$ stuff. Doing a trade when we could have had him without one.

    Jason Licht should have made a proper offer if he was wrong, but the rules are the rules. The offer was within them. Either way you look at this, Jason Licht screwed up, again.


  10. Clodhopper Says:

    Are we ever going to know what, exactly happened? What the Lions disputed? Why it was ruled to trade late round pics?

  11. robert 9 Says:

    i have not seen much to make me have ANY faith in Licht. seems everytime he touches something it costs us draft picks.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    JFat Says
    “I think Johnson locks in an OL for at least the round 2 pick.”

    Or a MLB. Or a Safety. Still plenty of other needs, and after round one, the OL talent drops off to 3rd rounds and later.

  13. I know why Says:

    Trade? For this guy??? He got six sacks when he played with ansah, suh and fairley. I watched his sacks and they weren’t special. Licht just doesn’t get it. Time to stop just blaming Lovie for everything. Blame them both. Clayborn is such a better all around player and cheaper. please name one good trade Licht has made, or wait name one break even trade. It doesn’t exist.

  14. Zack Says:

    Any player in the NFL could have had 6 sacks on the line Detroit had last year. Thanks for the pick swap!

  15. BuccaneerBonzai Says:



  16. D4ever Says:

    He was under contract, learn the terms and rules before you comment. Besides, the Bucs already had him and released him. That’s how the Lions got him, how stupid do you Bucs fans feel now?

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    It was explained on PFT. A load of bull. Basically, the rules allowed everything, but the Lions said it was unfair.

  18. I know why Says:

    He is the worst ever. You can write all you want about Allen, McKay, Dominik but none of them were 2-14. We are now into month 16 with these two and they got the 7th pick of the draft right…that’s it! I think all liked mike Evans he wasn’t some amazing scouting job.

  19. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    He had one year left, you are right. But you are addressing one commenter here, not all of us. Don’t come here trolling because we’ll be all over you in an instant, and then flood your own Lions fansite and make sure they know you are the reason.

  20. mark2001 Says:

    We will see how the deal works out. Frankly if we do something stupid and give up anything substantial, I suggest we call him Jason Lost, instead of Jason Licht. Why the heck can’t we ever hire a great GM like TT in Green Bay, or someone of the sort? I am hoping I am incorrect in saying this, but this isn’t a good sign.

  21. tmaxcon Says:


    stop being so stupid and naive. LOVIE HAS FULL CONTROL…. HE IS IN CHARGE OF ALL PERSONNEL DECISIONS. IT’S BEEN PUBLISHED BY MULTIPLE MEDIA OUTLETS SINCE THE DEAL WAS SIGNED…. This disaster has been and will be solely on Lovie…. Don’t ask for full control if you can’t handle full control….

  22. W Says:

    It’s amazing how negative some people are abuot this. If we give up a sixth-rounder, it’s not a bad deal. He was a good rotational end. That’s likely better than we could find that late in the draft.

  23. JFat Says:

    @BuccaneerBonzai – Calm the hell down dude. You don’t even know all the details of the trade and you’re blowing a gasket. If it’s a 6th or 7th round swap and we get a solid rotational DE out of it, what’s the big deal? How many of those late round picks turn in to anything better than depth?

    As far as OL depth in the draft, we’ve basically got another 1st round pick with our position in round 2. Reasonable to think at least one solid guard or tackle will be sitting there at 34. If not, sure, we can take another position of need, the point is they aren’t going to be as panicked about finding a DE.

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I like it. Jason Lost. Thanks!

    You saying it doesn’t make it so. All you have heard is that in year one Lovie had some control because the GM was hired after him. Jason Licht is the one negotiating, making offers and more. He is the one who did not bring in any good free agents.

    Don’t be idiotic.

  25. I know why Says:

    The reason why is simple. We didn’t have to give up anything for him because he wasn’t drafted. As long as they don’t match the offer he’s a Buc they get nothing. Oh, but no, let’s trade picks…for not good reason

  26. Tom Edrington Says:

    I believe George Johnson was on the Buc roster at one time. Don’t think he did much then besides have a cup of coffee……what makes anyone think he’ll be better this time?

  27. Tom Says:

    Chill out D4, nobody cares about your elitism. It makes you sound like a tool talking like that on an Internet message board

  28. tmaxcon Says:


    once again the only idiot is you. at least you are always consistently wrong. it’s quit comical though… you will one accept this legend of lovie is simply made up and the fool is a loser.

  29. JFat Says:

    @I know why – The key is “as long as they don’t match the offer”. How do you know the Lions weren’t going to match the offer? They got a 10 day extension, I’m sure they could have shaved any cap they needed to in order to make room for him.

    Welcome to Tampa Mr. Johnson.

  30. tmaxcon Says:

    Tom Edrington

    yes he was on the roster and cut for doing nothing. he also faded dramatically last year at the end of the season. i’d rather take a chance on an undrafted free agent than give up any pick for this guy. just like all the other free agents Lovie has brought it and signed this too is not an upgrade.

  31. Pickgrin Says:

    I agree this shows they want to concentrate on OL with the higher picks after Winston. And rightfully so.

    But no way should we have to give up anything in the draft to get a FA who isn’t under contract.

    We need more details here.
    What exactly was Detroit’s dispute concerning?
    Did the Bucs feel they were going to lose the arbitration and just concede to the trade?

    Yesterday it felt like we were sticking it to Detroit in this instance by signing Johnson to a deal that the Lions couldn’t match. A good move since we have plenty of $.

    Today it feels like Licht is breaking out the lube for his own protection against discomfort.

  32. miken Says:

    Oh no, another rutgers guy.

  33. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    There you go lying out your front teeth again. You cannot name 3 times when I’ve been wrong. I can name one where you were right away. This time.

    And, to clarify, I never called you an idiot. Learn the english language. I said DON’T BE IDIOTIC.

    I had to option of calling you an idiot and didn’t. Instead, I referenced your action, I didn’t describe you. You are the one resorting to name calling.

    Therefore, you have been wrong twice in this thread.

  34. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    I get the Lovie hate though. Jason Licht is white, so you don’t want to hate on him.

  35. UF Alum that likes a few Noles here. Says:

    It is TRULY pathetic that Joe can NOT write an article without JW’s name in it.

  36. AmbushBuc Says:

    According to this guy was with the Bucs from 2010-2012. Obviously he made quite an impression since no one has heard of him before.

    As per the level of incompetence on display — only L & L would trade a draft pick for a free agent!

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The dispute was this.

    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.

    Basically, the Bucs offer made the deal cap heavier in the first year so that the cap impact later would be less. The Lions are in cap trouble this year, so they cried foul because they could not match it.

  38. tmaxcon Says:


    dude don’t bring race into anything you POS…. I have two words for you loser.


  39. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I cannot believe no one remembers George Johnson being here. At the time, he had a “decent” rookie reason, and showed a little promise. He didn’t fit the Schiano defense though, so he was released.

    At the time, I was against releasing him. I knew he would make good depth. NOT STARTING MATERIAL.

  40. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    WTH are you spouting off about? lol

    Your two words are pretty idiotic. Now you are just spouting nonsense.

    And you know full well it is all about race with you. You’ve proven that in the past. Me? This may well be the first time I’ve brought it up.

  41. The Buc Realist Says:

    fighting over crumbs!!!

  42. dave Says:

    this is a good signing if hes going to be what he was in detroit, situational pass rusher. we need someone that can get double digit sacks, to start though. wasnt george on the bucs before and sucked @$$ like every other de weve had since rice.
    anyway im nervous they signed to have g. johnson start.

  43. dave Says:

    dude had 6 sacks with a top 3 defensive line in football

  44. dave Says:

    dude had 6 sacks with a top 3 defensive line in football imagine how many he’ll get with the bucs

  45. bucrightoff Says:

    Still need to draft a DE and preferably early. Still no one who prevents non-stop double teams of GMC. Johnson is a bunch of meh, not bad, not great, rotational player and nothing more. Bucs probably gave up a 6th and got a 7th kind of like the Goldson trade.

  46. UF Alum that likes a few Noles here. Says:

    Can we all just get along?

  47. Lions fan Says:

    AS a Lions fan and watching George Jones play, he definitely got his sacks because of the players he was surrounded by. He was a good player in our system though but is purely an edge rusher and not worth 3 mil. a year. He is a talented player and you can see him on NFL film. Having said that, it was very likely the lions would have only had to match the principle minus the DE-escolators and they could have done that. So to save the deal you guys swapped a late round pick with the lions. You didn’t give away a draft pick. This years draft is very deep. It was a win win for both teams. Good luck this year Bucs fans.

  48. pick6 Says:

    looks at licht’s history dealing with other teams since we hired him. he always blinks first. revis was cut in a panic and there was a market the second we let him go that JL couldn’t goad into trade talks. we’ve given away multiple former starters (zuttah, goldson) for late round picks TWO DRAFTS AWAY. until he proves he can stand his ground and win trade talks, why wouldn’t you try to take a little more flesh out of the bucs in a standoff with Jason Licht?

  49. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Glad to have you back in the fold-George. Hope you & your family can readjust quickly..

    Here’s to you having a better season than your predecessor.

    GO BUCS!

  50. nate_tweetz Says:

    Thought this was interesting… the list of top 20 sack leaders last year was comprised of 14 players that were drafted in either the 1st or 2nd rd. at some point (11-1st rd./3-2nd rd.). Trying to find a “franchise-changing” DE after the 2nd round has a little better success rate than winning the lottery. I don’t think the Bucs are going to look for that type of DE in this draft. Especially with this DE draft class being top heavy and relatively weak after that. Unfortunately, there were no beast FA DE’s this year that hit the open market other than Hardy. For now, the Bucs are going to have to sign role player DE’s and hope and pray players like Gholston and Smith have break out years. Just my opinion.

  51. robert 9 Says:

    true pick6

    licht is probably going to have to walk away from a good player just to show he can stand his ground. it’s that or keep getting his a$$ handed to him. The other teams must just laugh, have a drink and wait for him to panic.

  52. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    It seems like the Bucs tried to get away with something sneaky with the offer sheet and got busted (ala Belicheat). Instead of having anyone look in to it any further, they worked out the trade with Detroit.

  53. Architek Says:

    Why are you behaving like this is a noteworthy transaction – deprh is just that, he’s a JAG type player.

    Chill man – it’s not that serious.

  54. robert 9 Says:

    i’m sure bonzai is just tired of us bleeding draft picks and getting peanuts for players. I know I am.

  55. Celly Says:

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out what world you all live in where “swapped picks” means the same as “gave up a pick”.

    Even if we DID give up a late round pick for him (which we DIDN’T), most people on here complain about the fact that Lovie/Licht can’t scout late round talent anyway, so with that pick that we would’ve given up (which, again, we didn’t), we get a known commodity that is still pretty young and can provide some great depth that has significant playing time.

    Why am I wasting my breath. You’re going to find something to complain about regardless of what happens, so what do I care.

    @pick6 – You’re wrong, buddy. Revis got cut because he didn’t want to restructure his contract and most likely would’ve been traded to whoever we could’ve traded him to. With the fact that not many teams had the viable cap space to agree to his current contract, he most likely would’ve been traded to a team with plenty of cap space, but a bad team. He wouldn’t have agreed to that trade.

  56. BirdDoggers Says:

    The Bucs added a rotational DE that could turn out to be a starter. They swapped late round picks, which is hardly earth shattering. It still doesn’t mean they are set at DE. The defensive system needs a top tier edge rusher. Lovie will still be looking for one in the draft. The Johnson deal just means they have more options in the draft now.

  57. LargoBuc Says:

    Yes Lovie has final say over the 53 man roster. Any player released is Lovies decision and basically Licht does the technical stuff.
    Now in bringing in players Lovie has a “wish list” but Licht is lot more involved. Licht is the one contacting players agents and bringing in guys and negotiating. Most of the players are guys Lovie said “hey go get this guy” but Licht is the one guaranteeing money for x amount of years and all that stuff.
    For this particular deal Lovie isnt the one who set up the contract. Thats WHY you have a gm. So im sure Lovie said “lets get George Johnson” but after that its all Licht. So to blame Lovie for this is kind of stupid. Now you could just flat out think Johnson is a waste of time and then I could see you blaming Lovie for wanting to bring him in in the first place. But again all the technical contract stuff is Licht.

  58. Architek Says:

    Late picks aren’t expected to be contributors and considered to be long shots to make the roster anyway.

    It’s not a story to freak about.

    I’m in the same camp as Joe believing this is more about depth and not forcing the draft in one direction. He’s proven depth and that’s the jidst of it.

  59. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Johnson is not a starter. A good addition for the rotation, but unfortunately he will compete with Smith for the best defensive end on the team. And maybe a mid-round rookie. So we are looking at going into Training Camp with inexperienced/unproven defensive ends at the top of the depth chart.

    This trade makes me nervous though. I am hoping they just swapped each other’s 6th or 7th rounders to get around the Johnson signing, but knowing Jason Licht, who has gotten fleeced on every trade except for POSSIBLY the Barron trade we probably gave up a much higher pick than them for a rotational player.

  60. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Im not happy about trading a pick for this guy. Wouldve rather have gotten preston smith or nate orchard in the 3rd

  61. Waterboy Says:

    It’s the principle. If Detroit wants to keep him then match the offer otherwise let him walk forget the trade talk I wouldn’t take it. This regime always come up on the short end of trades.

  62. mark2001 Says:

    Some of you seem to be completely missing the boat…we wouldn’t be giving up a 7th for a low salaried player…. we are talking a draft pick plus two or three millions in salary cap a year….for a backup made to look better by some great other D line players? Unless this is a 7th round pick in future years, Jason is Lost.

  63. mac Says:

    Haha… All you dopes hating on Lovie because he doesn’t yell and scream and jump around like an over emotional idiot during games… Or make Scarry faces and swear like Chucky…

    Schiano did plenty of both and it didn’t help a single bit…

    Lovie has a coaching style similar to his mentor Tony Dungy… Lovie expects his players to act and play like a professional within his system… If they don’t they will be gone and replaced…

    If you don’t like Lovie’s system or inability to establish a consistent offense I am fine with that… But don’t be a fool and expect Lovie to act like Schiano or Chucky… Expect what you saw from Dungy… Calm, cool and collected… Respected by his players…

  64. mac Says:

    oops… The above comment was meant for the “Passive Lovie” post…lol

  65. Buc1987 Says:




    2nd, 3rd and 4th round.

  66. tmaxcon Says:


    The only expectation put on Lovie is to win. Winning I’d the only thing that matters. If he doesn’t win everything else is just excuses.


    I still think he blinked when he shouldn’t have. The Lions linked us out of position and we are just going to sit back and smile about it..

  68. Joseph Mamma Says:

    The deal with oily Drew Rosenhaus must have just slipped out of the Bucs hand’s. With all that oil and all.

  69. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Buc1987 I strongly believe he’ll be looking for his version Devin Hestor in the 3rd. Not that there is one that prolific but I wouldn’t mind having Tyler Lockett.

  70. passthebuc Says:

    If we draft Winston the Buc’s will be better off with a poor defense. The longer the D is on the field the longer Winston has to recover from the beating he will take.

  71. Mike10 Says:

    Licht is a POS – we gave away our 5th for their 7th…

  72. Ed Says:

    5th round pick?! That’s terrible. Once again we get taken out to the woodshed. That Licht and Lovie didnt draw the line at a 6th round pick really says a lot and none of it is good.

  73. bucrightoff Says:

    So rather than maybe change the contract (or not offer one that wasn’t valid to begin with), they decide to give up 45 or so draft spots to trade for a backup/rotational player?


  74. bucrightoff Says:

    Sorry, it’s actually going from 168 to 231, a nice 63 spot trade back for a backup. Wow what a horrific trade….

  75. MM-ARMY Says:

    I too am starting to see the L&L have no clue what they are doing when it comes to transactions. We got fleeced again and all we had to do is offer him $3MM per season and he would have been ours with no picks involved…once again…cheap ass team getting screwed. Whoever decided to throw in the de-escalators should be fired considering our huge cap space…it was stupid and unnecessary

    This is what happens when you try and be cute with contract language…

  76. Stanglassman Says:

    He actually looked promising when he was here. He made 3 sacks in the 2012 preseason & made the final roster only to be cut because they had to sign some no name TE when Luke Stocker went down with yet another injury.

  77. Just Win Jamies Says:

    I just want to address the idots who arelooking for reasons to compain about EVERYHING under our beautiful sun..

    The trade was basically a swap of a early 6th rounder #168 for a 7th… in return Bucs get a player READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!! If not work out…NOT END OF WORLD…SKY NOT FALLING….LIGHTIN UP 😉

  78. WS99 Says:

    Oops they did it again.

    I remember a player the bucs found in the 6th round named Michael Bennett.