Derrick Johnson will be staying in the AFC West.
After spending the first 13 years of his NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs, Johnson will be signing on with a Kansas City rival for the 2018 season in the Oakland Raiders. Michael Silver of NFL Network was the first to report about Johnson and the Raiders agreeing to terms.
The Chiefs passed on the opportunity of re-signing Johnson in an effort to revamp their defense with younger talent. Defenders Ron Parker, Darrelle Revis, and Tamba Hali were also not retained as apart of the purge.
Johnson meant with Oakland brass yesterday, and the transaction will likely rule out the team re-signing free agent linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who will turn 30 this month.
Adding in Johnson means yet another veteran free agent signing for the Raiders, who have also signed Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, Marcus Gilchrist, and Leon Hall so far this off-season. Johnson will provide a significant upgrade to the Raiders’ pass coverage at linebacker, even at age 35.
Oakland is the first team to have reported interest in Johnson this off-season, and with Johnson now set to be under contract officially soon, the Raiders have since cancelled a scheduled visit with former Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. The Seattle Seahawks also reportedly had interest in Cushing, but it seems like that door has closed as the two sides met in March and Cushing left Seattle without a contract offer.
While it’s pure speculation as to the type of contract Johnson received from the Raiders right now, it will likely be a one-year deal with several performance-based incentives. If it’s a multi-year deal, it’s likely that only 2018 will be fully guaranteed.
Johnson had 71 total tackles and seven pass deflections in 2017, where he played in every regular season game but one. For his NFL career, the four-time Pro Bowler Johnson has 1,152 total tackles, 78 pass deflections, and 27.5 sacks.
Photo: Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal