Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks to sign Tom Johnson, still need younger, longer-term fixes at DT

The Seahawks have agreed on a one-year contract with Minnesota Vikings free-agent defensive tackle Tom Johnson that could be worth up to $2.7 million, according to NFL Network. He is essentially swapping placed with Sheldon Richardson, the former Seahawks defensive tackle who signed with the Vikings last week.
The Seahawks have agreed on a one-year contract with Minnesota Vikings free-agent defensive tackle Tom Johnson that could be worth up to $2.7 million, according to NFL Network. He is essentially swapping placed with Sheldon Richardson, the former Seahawks defensive tackle who signed with the Vikings last week. AP

The Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings have essentially swapped defensive tackles.

Seattle's is coming at about one-fourth the cost.

Tom Johnson is on his way to signing a one-year contract with the Seahawks that could be worth "up to" $2.7 million, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network Friday morning.

That indicates a low base salary near the veteran minimum with many incentive bonuses.

In other words, like the rest of their free-agent signings this month: affordable for the salary cap-strapped Seahawks.

Richardson, six years younger than Johnson, signed last week with the Vikings for a base salary of $8 million and incentives that could make his total pay $11 million with Minnesota.

The Seahawks wanted to re-sign Richardson, whom they'd traded a second-round pick to the New York Jets to get in September. But he was asking for far more this month than Seattle could afford.

Same—and even more so—with free-agent defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who has reportedly talked this month to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

So instead, it's Johnson. He is coming off a stellar season for a team that came one game short of the Super Bowl, when he played a career-high 70 percent of Minnesota's defensive snaps. He appears to be a short-term answer on Seattle's defensive line thinned by Richardson's exit, the trade of Michael Bennett to Philadelphia and Cliff Avril's career-threatening neck injury.

Johnson will turn 34 before the 2018 season opener.

So Seattle's longer-term outlook on the defensive line remains based on second-year man Nazair Jones to build on his impressive rookie season of 2017, and on the rookie the Seahawks are likely going to draft next month to step up sooner than later.

Johnson had 32 tackles and two sacks for Minnesota last season, when the Vikings were second in the NFL in rushing defense. He had 12 sacks over his first two years with the Vikings, 2014-15, a relatively high total for an interior defensive lineman.

Johnson appreciates this Seahawks deal perhaps more than most would.

He was originally an undrafted free agent in 2005 from Southern Mississippi signed by Indianapolis. He never played for the Colts, who sent him to NFL Europe to play for Cologne. After spending 2007 playing in Germany, Johnson played for the Grand Rapids Rampage and Philadelphia Soul in the Arena League and the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders before making his NFL debut in 2011 with the New Orleans Saints.

The Seahawks just became his third NFL team.

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