Chargers Trade for Former First-Round Pick

The San Diego Chargers replenished the depth on their defensive line by trading for Travis Johnson on Monday. Johnson, who spent his first four seasons with the Houston Texans after being the club's first-round pick in 2005, will play both end and nose tackle for the Chargers.

The San Diego Chargers did not release the terms of Monday's trade, although Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune reports it is a for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2010, which could be bumped up to a fifth-rounder based on playing time.

At that price, the Chargers appear to have gotten a steal. Johnson (6-foot-3, 311 lbs.) will provide depth across a defensive line that had grown perilously thin. In addition to the offseason defection of Igor Olshansky, the team has been forced to deal with injuries to Jacques Cesaire (calf) and Ryon Bingham (arm).

Johnson played in 54 games with the Houston Texans, starting 38 of them. His career numbers include 106 total tackles, two sacks and eight pass breakups.

Johnson has spent the bulk of his career in the 4-3 defense, although he did play defensive end in a 3-4 alignment as a rookie in 2005. He figures to be used similarly to Ian Scott (6-foot-3, 315 lbs.), another lineman with 4-3 roots. Both figure to play defensive end on running downs or nose tackle in passing situations.

In other Chargers news, the team reached a four-year deal with seventh-round pick Demetrius Byrd. The team was in no rush to sign its seventh-round pick out of LSU, as Byrd is still not ready to contribute as he recovers from the effects of a serious car accident the week before the NFL draft.

To make room on the roster of their new additions, the Chargers released rookies Dan Gay, Rodgeriqus Smith and Greg Carr. The team must release three more players by 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

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