Could Michael Johnson be a target?

The list of available defensive ends grew Wednesday with Tampa Bay's release of Michael Johnson.

The Falcons have ushered in two visitors to Flowery Branch in their effort to find a pass rusher. First, it was former Georgia Tech star Derrick Morgan. Then it was Tampa Bay lineman Adrian Clayborn. Now, you have to wonder if a player that played with both Morgan and Clayborn could be next on the visit list.

Michael Johnson, who was Morgan’s teammate in Atlanta with the Yellow Jackets and then Clayborn’s teammate last year with the Bucs, was released by Tampa Bay Wednesday. The 6-7, 270-pound defensive end signed a big long-term contract last year with the Bucs but lasted only one year.

Johnson started 13 of 14 games played with Tampa Bay last season and registered four sacks. In his five seasons with the Bengals, Johnson had 26.5 sacks, including 11.5 in 2012.

Johnson has a bigger frame than Morgan (6-3, 261) and Clayborn (6-3, 280). Morgan has 23 sacks in his five NFL seasons, while Clayborn has only 13 in his four seasons with the Buccaneers.

Cincinnati and Minnesota have already been mentioned as possible landing spots for Johnson. He played for Mike Zimmer, the Vikings’ head coach, with the Bengals in the first five years of his career.


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