MEDIA Buccaneers win Johnson sweepstakes : LUSENET : Purple : One Thread

Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Buccaneers win Johnson sweepstakes

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- ASSOCIATED PRESS ---------------------------------------------------------------------- -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their man. Now they'll find out if Brad Johnson is the missing piece in a championship puzzle. Johnson agreed Monday to a five-year, $28 million contract with the Bucs, who outbid the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens for the NFL's most coveted free-agent quarterback. The Buccaneers confirmed they struck a deal with Johnson but said they would not comment until the former Washington Redskins and Vikings player signs a contract. Johnson's agent, Phil Williams, said there was no one factor that led the nine-year veteran to pick Tampa Bay over Baltimore. Johnson is a close friend of Baltimore coach Brian Billick, who was Johnson's offensive coordinator with the Vikings, but also had ties to Bucs coach Tony Dungy, Minnesota's defensive coordinator before moving to Tampa Bay. The Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals also expressed interest in Johnson, who has passed for 12,973 yards, 79 touchdowns and 57 interceptions in nine pro seasons. ``Brad always liked the Buccaneers because of Tony, and he liked the Ravens because of Brian,'' Williams said. The deal includes a $6.5 million signing bonus and a base salary of $750,000 next season. Nearly half the contract, including a $3.5 million salary and $2 million roster bonus in 2002, would be paid in the first two seasons. The Ravens, who were thought to have the inside track when the free-agent signing period opened last week, reportedly offered Johnson and Elvis Grbac identical packages worth about $22 million over four years. In the Bucs, Johnson joins a team that has had one of the NFL's top defenses the past five seasons. But offense has kept the team from achieving more under Dungy. ``I'm excited to be a Buccaneer. I have a lot of respect for the organization and for Tony and for the guys I played against for so many years,'' Johnson, who lives in Tallahassee, told WTVT-TV of Tampa, Fla. ``I feel like I'm putting myself in the best position to be successful and to win at a high level.'' Shaun King helped Tampa Bay reach the NFC championship game as a rookie two years ago, but he was inconsistent last year and played poorly in a first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia. The Bucs also claimed former San Diego quarterback Ryan Leaf off waivers Friday, but the Bucs do not consider him a solution to their concerns on offense. Also Monday, quarterback Jim Harbaugh agreed to a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Harbaugh gives the Lions a solid backup to injury-plagued Charlie Batch. Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg has said he plans to stick with Batch as the starter, but not unconditionally. Quarterback Doug Flutie planned to meet with San Diego Chargers officials today. The Dolphins, seeking to upgrade the quarterback position held last year by Jay Fiedler, talked with free agent Gus Frerotte. His agent said Fre

-- Mark (Karch, March 06, 2001


Well that's definitely some bad news. This is a huge step up for the Bucs steadily improving offense. Betcha Keyshawn's wetting his pants in anticipation of the Johnson to Johnson connection.

Let's see... Dungy, McDaniel, Christy and now Brad. Tampa should be renamed the "Vikaneers". On the bright side, being that I live in Florida, with all these ex-Viking signings it's getting a bit easier to tolerate all the Bucaneer news being broadcast here seemingly 24/7.

-- Clark (, March 06, 2001.

How about "Vikings South"? Gee, we can all crash at Clark's pad before and after the game!


-- Jan Zumbo (, March 07, 2001.

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