With many of the top free agent pass-rushers taken off the markets by their own teams, the movement figures to be fast for the few remaining young options.
And one of them may be flying south.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Buccaneers are “serious discussions” with Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson.
New Bucs coach Lovie Smith needs pass-rushers to make his system work, and Johnson’s one of the few of substantial resume available.
With Greg Hardy franchise-tagged by the Panthers and Michael Bennett (Seahawks) and Everson Griffen (Vikings) already agreeing to long-term deals, Johnson’s the star of the defensive end marketplace.
Though he dipped to 3.5 sacks last year, the 11.5 he put on the board in 2012 (which earned him the Bengals franchise tag) will get him paid, quickly and well.