The idea of Tampa Bay parting ways with Johnson can up a few months ago given that the Buccaneers are faced with a big decision given that he stands to make another $7 million fully guaranteed if he’s on the team’s roster as of the third day of the 2015 league year.
The Buccaneers signed him to a five-year, $43.875 million deal with $23 million guaranteed last March, but this decision will likely come to whether they want to pay Johnson $16 million for one year or $23 million over the course of two seasons.
According to OverTheCap.com, releasing Johnson outright would free up $2 million in cap space, but would also create $7 million in dead money. Waiting to June 1 to release him would give them $4 million in cap room to go along with $4 million in dead money.
Johnson, 27, recorded 27 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles over the course of 14 games for the Buccaneers. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 53 defensive end in a 4-3 system out of 59 qualifying players.