The Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking for pass rushers of all sorts in the free agency period prior to the 2014 NFL season. Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson would appear to be a perfect fit for the Jaguars defensive scheme, notching all the boxes you look to check when spending in free agency.
Johnson, 27, is coming off a season where his sack total dropped from 2012 but his overall pressure total increased. He's a big, super athletic defensive lineman who's also played some linebacker in the past to get him on the field before he took over as a full-time starter. Not only is he an effective pass rusher, but he's actually one of the best 4-3 ends defending the run in the NFL.
How Johnson fits Jacksonville
Michael Johnson would seem to fit the LEO end position to a 'T'. He's got long arms, tall, athletic and quick around the edge. He also possess the ability to stand up and play a little bit of linebacker/coverage if necessary. Those are the traits that Gus Bradley has mentioned the team will look for in a LEO end. If the Jaguars were somehow able to sign Johnson in free agency, it gives them the freedom to do just about anything they want with their first two picks in the draft.
Johnson would be an immediate upgrade and day one starter at the position. As mentioned before, as well as providing pass rush ability he's a true three-down player and actually surprisingly stout against the run.
How Much Will Johnson Cost
If the Jaguars want to sign Michael Johnson they're probably going to have to do it on March 11 when free agency starts and they're probably going to have to over pay and give him a hefty contract. Such is free agency, however. Thankfully the Jaguars have a very healthy cap situation for the future with essentially a blank slate on future contracts. The team could sign Johnson to a front-loaded deal and flatten his year-by-year cap hit so it does not balloon later on, but it's likely going to be a contract in the range of five or six years and over $60 million with about $15-20 million guaranteed.