Michael Johnson returns to the Bengals

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On Monday, it was believed the Bengals were poised to pounce on defensive end Michael Johnson if he was cut by the Buccaneers.  He was, and they did.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Bengals have agreed to terms with Johnson, who spent five years in Ohio before signing with Tampa Bay in 2014.

The Bengals used the franchise tag to keep Johnson around in 2013, and Johnson cashed in last year with $23 million in guaranteed money from the Bucs.  He left Tampa with only $16 million (but in exchange for only one year of work), and with no offset for whatever he receives in Cincinnati.

Without Johnson the Bengals finished 30th in the league with only 23 sacks.  So it makes plenty of sense that they brought him back.

It wasn’t easy; his first trip was to Minnesota, where former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is now the head coach.  Ultimately, though, the Bengals closed the deal.

90 responses to “Michael Johnson returns to the Bengals

  1. I’m glad he didn’t sign in Minnesota. 1 good year and 2 paydays? The Bungles can have him.

    Everson Griffen > Michael Johnson

  2. As a Viking fan, not a big deal really. Everson Griffen is our D end star. He would of been a rotational player with less motor then Robison really. Cincy seems happy to have him back, maybe he can find his game again.

  3. Didn’t seem that productive down here, but the Bengals are good at finding value sometimes. Maybe back in comfortable surroundings he’ll get some confidence back.

  4. I know that had to be a tough choice because Zim is awesome. But I think Michael and the Bengals both realized after he was gone that they had both let go of a good thing. So when the opportunity came, he came back.

  5. Sucks for the Vikings, but no doubt having to split time with Robison and the fact he still had friends in Cincy sealed it for him. Wouldn’t be surprised if Vikes take one of the LB/DE twieners at 11 with Robison being 32 when season starts. Will be interested to see if Vikings offered more money.

  6. And apparently the Bengals still get a comp pick for losing Michael Johnson last year! #sweet

  7. Good grief, filthblaster, do you have any life whatsoever?
    Amazing to me that Aaron Rodgers not only carries a franchise, front office, coaching staff and mediocre team…but he carries PFT Packer trolls as well. Unreal.

  8. Here comes all the “Michael Johnson Sucks” posts from disgruntled Vikings fans. Give it another year and Zimmer will be back in Cincinnati too…. Turnover Teddy at QB…. and a disgruntled 30 something running back… not to mention a one trick pony diva WR who can’t run routes…no thanks.

  9. Is there any team in the NFL , that has spent more foolishly on free agents , than the Tampa Bay Bucanners? The latest Exhibit A right here . Previous examples – Carl Nix , Anthony Collins , Dashon Goldson , Josh McCown , and on and on .

  10. His name is too common for him to be good. Gotta have a unique name like Peyton, Adrian, Teddy, etc. (Exception being Jim Brown).

  11. WHY did the Bucs cut him? Be careful Bengals fans of this offseason pickup…you never win in March…..Fools.

  12. The handwriting was on the wall. He really wanted to be home with his friends. Best of luck Bengal in 2015..))

  13. He wasn’t ready to embrace the suck in MN, and still wanted to play competitive football in the major leagues…

    “I still don’t know how Clinton Dix didn’t make a play on the ball”…Troy Aikman

  14. WHY did the Bucs cut him? Be careful Bengals fans of this offseason pickup…you never win in March…..Fools….

    You obviously have not drank at the fountain of a Cover 2 defensive coach..

    Who do you think got him his 43M gig in Tampa. The Zimmer system…Now being run in MN and by the Bengals.

    This system has/is becoming archaic in the NFL

    “I can find a cover 2 corner at the 7-11 in Bloomington”…Mike Zimmer

  15. Tampa sucks at every level. Released their top free agents. Cut Revis after one year, traded a first and a third for him. Traded away their first round pick Barron. I honestly think they tanked for Winston, and have no direction.

  16. Great pick-up for Cincinnati, opens up the draft board to allow them to focus on the “best player available” versus overreaching for a need at DE. The Bengals will probably pick up other veteran pieces before Training Camp to build more necessary depth to the roster.

  17. Sad to see this one get away. A former Bengal as his agent and lots of friends/teamsters in Cincy was a tough won to win for Zim. Mr. Robison, please show us this year we won’t miss this move!!

  18. Or it could be that putting the paper bag with the eyes cut out on your head gets to hot down in Tampa. At least it’s cold in cinncy and that brown bag can warm his face.

  19. Michael Johnson was worthless for the Bucs. He got paid, and never gave Tampa his effort and focus.

    I wish him luck, and hope he doesn’t pull a “Haynesworth” on the Bengals.

    – Buc Fans

  20. I bet he regrets leaving Cincy in the first place!

    He could have stayed there last year. Coming off of a good year in 2013, and would have gotten a nice contract that he could still be playing on. But he took the big fat contract with Tampa, and now back in Cincy playing for possibly less than he would have gotten a year ago.

    But, kudos for him. He passed on us, and went to a team he’s comfortable with, has players and coaches he’s comfortable around. And had his best year in Cincy.

    Some players just flourish better in certain systems. And it was going to come down to Cincy or us. And he went back home. Can’t be upset about missing out on him. He chose what’s best for him, and felt like home to him.

  21. Michael Johnson was worthless for the Bucs. He got paid, and never gave Tampa his effort and focus.

    I wish him luck, and hope he doesn’t pull a “Haynesworth” on the Bengals.

    – Buc Fans..

    Sorry but he wasn’t a fit for the antiquated Cover 2 and the coaching genius of Leslie Frasier…

  22. He got cut for the same reason Collins did. They were both soft and could not live up to the expectations of the contracts they signed.

    you would think that with McCoy and MacDonald collapsing the middle and a scrap heap LDE getting 5+ sacks each, Johnson could have had more than 5 spash plays all year.

    When you get trucked by tiny running backs at his size, you are a bust as a big market FA. TB realized that, bit the bullet and dropped his weak ass before more money from next year became guaranteed.

  23. Let him walk for a year, get a third round compensatory pick in return, and get him for a lot less than it would have cost the prior year. Not too shabby.

  24. Good grief, filthblaster, do you have any life whatsoever?
    Amazing to me that Aaron Rodgers not only carries a franchise, front office, coaching staff and mediocre team…but he carries PFT Packer trolls as well. Unreal.

    Thus the new name…The Green Bay Rodgers…

  25. Love the butt hurt comments by the Viking fans. Lots of excuses why this guy did not want to come to the “paradise” that is Minnesota and the Viking organization. Whifff!!!!!!

  26. I know this will not happen but with the Drew Bree’s to Tampa rumors for the #1 pick why can’t the Bengals offer up Dalton and 2 number ones or even 3 number ones to get Brees because if the Bengals had a legit qb they would be the slam dunk favorites to win the AFC

  27. Love the butt hurt comments by the Viking fans. Lots of excuses why this guy did not want to come to the “paradise” that is Minnesota and the Viking organization. Whifff!!!!!!……

    I don’t see any…He wanted to stay home…The Vikings fans are supportive of his decision..

    However, Good news for The Green Bay Rodgers. TT has put a free agent on a Greyhound on Saturday with Subway coupons, he will be here next Wednesday..

    To Whifff on something…means you actually have to play the game…

  28. Viking fans are the real losers here, they missed out on another piece to add to their offseason championship.

  29. Smart move by Johnson and the Bengals. The Bengals needed the DE production and Johnson wanted a chance to start. Johnson wasn’t going to get the chance to start at right DE in MN. The Vikes never really had a realistic chance in this one.

    The other teams in the Bengals’ division should be sending the Vikes a basket of fruit for bumping up the Bengals cap numbers on the Boling and Johnson deals.

  30. 4to12for13timechamps says:
    Mar 15, 2015 1:19 PM

    Love the butt hurt comments by the Viking fans. Lots of excuses why this guy did not want to come to the “paradise” that is Minnesota and the Viking organization. Whifff!!!!!!
    ——————————————————-

    I see MN fans that see this for what it is. MJ went to MN because of Zim, but decided on Cincy because of the relationships he has there. Teammates, and coaches. Do MN fans fault him for that? No way! To me, that’s a character move. Go back to where you started, where you had your best year, and where you have good relationships with teammates and coaches.

    Cincy get’s back the player they had 2 years ago, and also a compensatory 3rd round pick out of the deal. Plus has him back probably cheaper than they would have a year ago. Sounds like a savvy move to me.

    Something TT could never pull off or do. Cuz once players leave GB, they never want to go back!

  31. 4to12for13timechamps says:
    Mar 15, 2015 1:19 PM
    ————————————————————

    And just so you know… GB has won 4 superbowls… That’s it!

    Nobody counts your “championships” as anything..

    I’ve won 35 flag football championships… woo hoo!

    I sound like a packer fan there!

  32. Joedirt says: Bengals are getting a 3rd round compensatory pick for losing him LAST YEAR.

    That’s hilarious.
    _________________
    Mike Brown does have a talent for deals like this. Remember, we got two draft picks and a coach to be named later (Hue Jackson) for Carson Palmer.

  33. jwesty says: Mar 15, 2015 11:40 AM

    WHY did the Bucs cut him? Be careful Bengals fans of this offseason pickup…you never win in March…..Fools.
    ——————————————————
    The Bucs had nothing to offer the guys, or any other team members for that matter with the suck fest that’s been taking place there for years now. Tampa Bay has been posing as a proffessional football team for far too long. They had no idea how to use a talent like MJ. If they had a football mind at all, they’d take it out and let the punter play with it all week. Tards at best!

  34. Johnson has guaranteed money from the Buccaneers and the Bengals will receive a compensatory draft pick for when he left last year!

    Both Johnson and the Bengals come out of this smiling.

  35. Was really hoping he would come to minnesota but I also was a little worried about the repercussions of taking on another big contract when we still need to lock up Harrison Smith next year. Best of luck to MJ

  36. cincyalldaway says: Mar 15, 2015 1:57 PM

    jwesty says: Mar 15, 2015 11:40 AM

    WHY did the Bucs cut him? Be careful Bengals fans of this offseason pickup…you never win in March…..Fools.
    ——————————————————
    The Bucs had nothing to offer the guys, or any other team members for that matter with the suck fest that’s been taking place there for years now. Tampa Bay has been posing as a proffessional football team for far too long. They had no idea how to use a talent like MJ. If they had a football mind at all, they’d take it out and let the punter play with it all week. Tards at best!

    —————————-

    when’s the last time you witness Cincinnati win anything relevant in your lifetime? Oh, that’s right. The last playoff win for the Bengals was in 1990. Losers at best!

  37. For the most part, the majority of the Vikes fans, minus the trolls of course, see this for what it is, a good move for MJ and Cincy. It made the most sense. For those fans, thanks guys, much appreciated! For you Minny trolls, what did you think you could offer the guy? Zim is a great coach, but even he can’t polish a turd! Enjoy the quality leadership that you’ve had from him to date cause at some point soon, maybe as early as next year, he’ll be interviewing with Cincy for the head coaching job! But cheer up, with the train wreck in full swing at Tampa Bay, the highly sought after Leslie Frazier will probably be looking for a home as well! Happy hunting!

    Again, this is for the punkish Minny trolls out there! Nothing but respect for true Vikings fans! The trolls could learn something form jerrykill4pres if they wanted too!

  38. If we only count SBs than you better tell your fellow Viking fans this because then the Vikings have never won anything in the NFL . But you already knew that. 0-4. Lahoo ser hers.

  39. codythao35 says: Mar 15, 2015 2:21 PM

    Funny, when was the last time the Bengals were actually being competitive Football? Next man up.
    ——————————————————
    Watch any football for the last 5 years Sonny? The better question is when was your team last successful? If I’m not mistaken, you guys are picking first again aren’t you? It’s becoming a theme down there. Nice try though!
    #Posers

  40. Bengals- Super Bowls Won: 0 out of 2 appearances
    Vikings- Super Bowls Won: 0 out of 4 appearances
    Buccaneers- Super Bowls Won: 1 out of 1 appearance

    Kiss the ring

  41. 4to12for13timechamps says: Mar 15, 2015 1:19 PM

    Love the butt hurt comments by the Viking fans. Lots of excuses why this guy did not want to come to the “paradise” that is Minnesota and the Viking organization. Whifff!!!!!!

    duece5 says:

    He didn’t want to CHOKE in gbay, so he didn’t even bother with the green n choke!!!!

    ZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. @HomerSimpson
    Just like my Bengals last playoff win, TB’s SB victory is also ancient freaking history. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while. This doesn’t mask the point that your pathetic team has absolutely NOTHING to offer a descent player other than fair weather to match their fans. You guys signed two very good players away from Cincy last year hoping they would salvage your pathetic team. When you add good players to a squad full of turds that’s a total train wreck posing as a professional team and you expect immediate results, you get just what you have! A team full of perennial losers and guaranteed first round pick! At least Cincy can offer a spot on a winning team, with a winning record, and a better chance at another trip to the SB that TB could ever dream off. As windy as you are, You can’t say that can you? Hold onto that one and only winning memory that you have of your favorite team. It’s likely the last you’ll ever have! Now that the football lesson is over, shouldn’t you be sucking on a juice box by now? Time for a nap little one!

  43. I really must say I feel sorry for the handful of intelligent Vikings fans who post here. I love reading the jabs. Yet so many of the Vikes fan comments don’t come close to being funny or clever. ZING? (really???) Choke? (again??). Sheesh.

  44. MJ never was a 4 down player….at his best when platooned and bring in on passing downs like they used him 2 years ago! Who Dey

  45. @cincyalldaway;
    The fact you think Johnson and Collins are VERY GOOD players shows me that you’re the clear homer here. Even your own fans know Johnson isn’t a 3 down player. We have one of the best OLB and DTs in the game. That’s nice and all but at the end of the day the whole reason why all 32 teams play football is to hoist the Lombardi trophy in February. History tells me that the Bengals have hoisted the trophy just as many times as Vikings, Browns,Lions, Texans, Jaguars, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals,Chargers, Bills, Titans,and Eagles(the answer is 0). I will take all the 2-14 seasons and first overall picks knowing that I got to witness my team win the world’s most prestigious trophy. Maybe one day you can get a paid day off to watch a parade of champions but until then please enjoy Andy Dalton and his pursuit of mediocrity. So point being, you can go 10-5-1 all you want but if you go one and out in the playoffs then what exactly are you so proud of? Being perpetually losers?

  46. Come on, we don’t want to fight with Vikings fans. MJ would have been good on either team because both teams know his strengths. Fact is a lot of us Bengals fans are rooting for the Vikings as our second favorite team because of Zimmer.

  47. Nobody forced Tampa to cut him. They are making some bad decisions. He had a high ankle sprain last year! If they had held onto him they might have gotten a return on their investment. They basically handed that return to the Bengals. And the Bengals get a 3rd round comp pick too. That’s all Tampa’s choice.

  48. Congrats to MJ and the Cincy Bengals, welcome back, we missed you last year! WHO DEY!!

  49. Come on man. Some of you Viking fans need to remember where Zimmer came from. I love our new coach,first hard charger we had in a long time. Don’t trash the Bengals. Good luck with Johnson….

  50. Google overrated, You might find a picture of MJ celebrating a sack.
    Google average, there might be Dalton on top missing a crossed route.
    Google bust, Should be Hunt riding the bench

  51. Just like when you get your girlfriend back after she left and dated around, it ain’t the same no more. Just like when you go back home after 20 years and visit the neighborhood. It aint the same more. Johnson had turn toe last year and that hobbled him. I’d have hoped they would keep him one more year, but something tells me he’s not 100%…they Bucs would not throw way $8 if he was going to be even average. Something’s up, and I can’t believe the Bengals paid what they did.

  52. jerrykill4pres says:
    Mar 15, 2015 1:46 PM
    ————————————————————

    And just so you know… GB has won 4 superbowls… That’s it!

    Nobody counts your “championships” as anything..

    …………………………………………………………………………………………..

    No, only the fans of teams that have never won one.

  53. Welcome Back “Longneck Johnson”.

    With Dunlap crushing past opposing team’ RTs, and Geno hopefully rounding into form, MJ90 can use his bull rush and jump technique…

    Which led to 9 pass deflections (some that turned into INTs) like in 2013.

    Solid run defender. Lets Clarke, Hunt and Gilberry pin their ears back on 3rd downs…

  54. For all the Cover 2 haters… this guy was a DE, who has one job in this “crappy” system – rush the passer. He could not get it done, even with arguably one of the best under tackles in the league next to him.

    Bash all you want, DE in cover 2 is about as easy as the position gets. On rare occasions a DE might drop back into a zone, as pressure is brought up the middle.

    He had 1 good season in Cincy (2012) look at the bookends around that…

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