Packers release defensive end

As expected, the Green Bay Packers released veteran defensive end Joe Johnson today. Johnson fell far short of expections in Green Bay since he signed a six-year, $33 million contract two years ago.<p>

Johnson played in a total of 11 games for the Packers in the last two seasons. He suffered season-ending injuries in each of his two seasons in Green Bay.

In 2003, Johnson started the first six games at the 'Power' (left) defensive end position before seeing his season conclude with a ruptured right quadriceps tendon. He suffered a left triceps injury in 2002 in Week 5 and was placed on injured reserve.

A two-time Pro Bowler (1998, 2000), Johnson signed with the Packers as an unrestricted free agent, March 26, 2002, and received a $6 million signing bonus. The Packers have shelled out more than $10 million in salary and signing bonuses to Johnson, who turns 32 on July 11.

In May of last year, Johnson was charged with marijuana possession in Tifton, Ga. His car was approached by a deputy who had seen Johnson's vehicle stopped in a highway turning lane.

By waiting until after June 1 to release Johnson, the Packers saved $4 million against this year's salary cap, a figure that represents his base salary. Johnson counted $5.1 million against the salary cap, including this year's prorated bonus. That money, along with the rest of the prorated money, will be pushed onto the 2005 cap — a cost of $4.3 million.

Johnson has 52 sacks in his nine-year NFL career, but only had two with the Packers.

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