Free agency: Tom Johnson signing with Seahawks

By Nick Shook
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Tom Johnson is heading west.

The veteran defensive tackle signed with the Seattle Seahawks, the team announced. Johnson’s deal is for one year and worth up to $2.7 million, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the deal.

Johnson carved a career for himself after stops in the Arena Football League, NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League, landing with the New Orleans Saints in 2011. He apepared to be on his last chance when he signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He took advantage of the opportunity, racking up 6.5 sacks and following that up with a 36-tackle, 5.5-sack season in 2015.

Since then, Johnson has recorded 4.0 sacks combined between 2016 and 2017 (30 games played). He departs Minnesota after four seasons and heads to Seattle to join a team seemingly in transition. The Seahawks bid adieu to Richard Sherman, let Sheldon Richardson walk in free agency (to Minnesota, coincidentally) and traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia. The 33-year-old Johnson (he turns 34 on Aug. 30) replaces Richardson and brings a veteran presence on a cheap deal as Seattle churns its roster for a future beyond 2018.

In addition to Johnson, the Seahawks also announced they’ve re-signed defensive end Marcus Smith. Smith played in 14 games last season in Seattle, making 15 tackles and recording 2.5 sacks.

Other free agency news we’re tracking on Friday:

1. Former Tennessee Titans safety Da’Norris Searcy signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers worth $5.7 million with up to $3.1 million in the first year, a source informed of the deal told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

In addition, the Panthers signed offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to a one-year deal, the team announced. With experience playing guard and tackle, the former Viking can serve as a swing lineman for a team looking for some depth in the group.

The Panthers also inked defensive back Ross Cockrell to a two-year, $6.8 million contract, Pelissero reported. Cockrell joins his third team in as many seasons and fourth team in his career, spending 2015-2016 with Pittsburgh before joining the New York Giants in 2017. For his career, Cockrell has recorded five interceptions and 36 passes defensed, including a career-high three picks last season.

2. Cornerback Marcus Cooper is visiting his former team, the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. He could potentially return to Arizona after one year with the Bears.

3. Cornerback E.J. Gaines has signed with the Cleveland Brownsthe team announced Friday. Gaines spent 2017 in Buffalo, where he appeared in 11 games and recorded 59 tackles, nine passes defensed, one interception and three forced fumbles.

4. The Dolphins are bringing back offensive tackle Sam Young. Young started six games last season in Miami.

5. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Evan Smith, Rapoport reported. Smith has spent the past four seasons in Tampa Bay, starting 28 of 50 games played at center and guard. The deal is a two-year pact worth $6 million with $1 million guaranteed, Rapoport added.

6. The New England Patriots are re-signing linebacker Marquis Flowers, the team announced. Flowers played in 16 regular season games (two starts) last year with the Patriots. He also posted a career-high 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

7. The Arizona Cardinals signed cornerback Bene Benwikere to a one-year deal. Benwikere played in 12 games for the Cowboys last season, but registered only 10 defensive snaps.

The Cardinals traded left tackle Jared Veldheer to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick, both teams confirmed on Friday.

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