Detroit Lions Trade George Johnson to Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Defensive End Now a Hole


Earlier this offseason, the Detroit Lions apparently didn’t think anyone would nibble on restricted free agent defensive end George Johnson, leading them to not tender the breakout player with a second round pick.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers swooped in and made Johnson a three-year, $9 million dollar offer that both he and the Lions couldn’t afford to refuse, they were quickly proven wrong.

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Wednesday, instead of deciding to getting into the contractual mess, the Lions settled on trading Johnson to the Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Times reported. MLive’s Kyle Meinke reiterated in his piece that low-level picks would be swapped, but it was unclear which would be moving as the trade is still pending league approval.

Last season, Johnson surprised many by earning his way onto the team and never slowing down, posting six sacks and 23 tackles along the way. For that reason, he was seen as an interesting part of Detroit’s defensive line rotation in 2015, especially considering the loss of Ndamukong Suh.

Now, the Lions will have players such as Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp and Larry Webster trying to fill Johnson’s void. But Johnson’s loss means the Lions have to think about adding an additional defensive end at some point during the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft.

Johnson’s loss means the Lions have to think about adding an additional defensive end at some point during the 2015 NFL Draft.

Suh’s production will likely have to be replaced by a tandem of players statistically, and it’s a shame the Lions didn’t value Johnson enough to tender him and include him in that picture. He was comfortable with the staff and the system, and had shown growth within it. Detroit should have been more motivated to reward him as a result.

Now, they’ve opened up another hole that needs patching along the defensive line, and their scramble to acquire any type of compensation for Johnson shows that they know an obvious mistake was made.

Johnson’s an intriguing talent, and given that he’s officially heading for Tampa Bay, the Lions are going to have to find some type of way to replace even more production along the defensive front.

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