Buccaneers pushing hard to sign Michael Johnson

AP

Count the Buccaneers among the teams that would love to add Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson in free agency.

Johnson has already drawn interest from about a quarter of the league with two days to go before free agency officially opens, and according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the Buccaneers are pushing hard to sign Johnson. New Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith would love to add a pass-rushing defensive end to his defense, and Johnson may be the best fit of any free agent available.

If Johnson gets the big contract it appears he’s about to get, then he has played free agency perfectly. Last year, when the market was down, Johnson decided to sign the franchise tag and play for the Bengals on a one-year salary of $11.2 million. This year the salary cap is higher and the market is up, and Johnson gets to test the free market.

Johnson, the No. 5 player on our Free Agent Hot 100, is surely about to become one of the highest-paid defensive ends in the NFL.