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Buccaneers closing in on Michael Johnson

Tampa Bay looking to upgrade pass rush by signing the former Cincinnati Bengal. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This March 11, 2014, 10:48 AM EST

Approximately one year ago at this time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers commenced an offseason journey that began with the decision to let free agent defensive end Michael Bennett leave town and reached its climax with a trade that resulted in the acquisition of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Michael JohnsonJohnson notched 11.5 sacks with the Bengals in 2012.

Fast forward one year to the present and you’ll see a much different picture. Bennett played such an integral role in Seattle’s Super Bowl run that he was recently re-upped to the tune of a four-year deal worth $28.5 million with $16 million in guarantees. Revis, meanwhile, is on his way out of Tampa via either a trade or outright release.

Think about the details of Bennett’s new contract, along with the fact that the Seahawks nabbed him on a one-year, $5 million deal last offseason, when you read this next part.

According to multiple reports, the Buccaneers are the frontrunners to sign free agent defensive end and former Cincinnati Bengal Michael Johnson. Per Jason La Canfora of CBS, the deal will average $8.5 million per year with close to $24 million in guarantees.

Of course, no contract can be signed until the free agent market officially opens Tuesday afternoon at 4:00pm eastern. But the new three-day negotiating window has apparently made it easier—or rather, more legitimate—to work out the kinks in advance of a signing.

Whatever the case, it now looks like the Buccaneers could have saved themselves some time and money by simply re-signing Bennett last year...at a much cheaper price than what it will cost to land Johnson today.

Update: Per ESPN's Josina Anderson, it's a five-year deal worth $43.75 million with $24 million guaranteed.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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