If anyone was still hoping that the crop of free agents the Buccaneers signed last year would turn out to be anything but a disaster has all of their hopes pinned to cornerback Alterraun Verner and center Evan Dietrich-Smith right now.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the team will release defensive end Michael Johnson on Wednesday. Johnson joins tackle Anthony Collins and quarterback Josh McCown as free agents that the Buccaneers signed around this time last year who have been cut after a poor debut season in Tampa.
Johnson signed a five-year, $43.75 million contract last year and provided 27 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 14 games with the team. The Bucs will get $2 million back under the cap, but they owe Johnson $7 million fully guaranteed, with no offset.
Making the move now keeps another $7 million from becoming fully guaranteed.
The Bengals are believed to be interested in having Johnson return to the team he played for during his first five seasons. Johnson had 26.5 sacks for the Bengals during that time and he should come a lot cheaper than he did last offseason.