Johnson played in only one game last season before being placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury. But the Colts like his pass-rushing skills and wanted to keep him, thus they offered the third-year pro the one-year tender last Thursday.
Johnson, 24, isn’t expected to start but adds depth as a pass rusher and will play special teams.
He was acquired by the Colts in a 2013 trade with the San Francisco 49ers. He played in 12 games in 2013 and made five tackles on defense and five on special teams. He also had two tackles on defense and two special-teams stops in two playoff games.
He spent the first 14 games of 2012 on the 49ers’ practice squad before playing in the final two regular-season games.
The Colts also made a qualifying offer on Thursday to restricted free-agent inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who can receive offers from other teams but the Colts would receive a second-round draft pick if they choose not to match. That means Freeman, who has led the Colts in tackles in two of his three NFL seasons, will likely return for 2015.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.