Ravens sign J. Johnson

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed outside linebacker Jarret Johnson to a three-year contract worth a total of $13 million, an NFL source confirmed to Ravens Insider. Johnson will be the primary replacement for All-Pro linebacker Adalius Thomas. Thomas is expected to finalize a deal with the New England Patriots today that will include nearly $20 million in guaranteed money.

A fourth-round draft pick out of the University of Alabama, Johnson started two games last season and played in all 16, registering 35 tackles, two pass deflections with 1 1/2 sacks.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder had 61 tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery in 2005. In four seasons, he has three sacks and one interception.
A converted defensive end, Johnson is capable of doing some of the versatile assignments that Thomas did for the NFL's top-ranked defense.
The Ravens are likely to use linebacker Bart Scott more extensively on third downs to try to make up for Thomas' departure. Injury-prone former second-round draft pick Dan Cody and special-teams ace Gary Stills could operate as situational pass rushers.
The Ravens have been scouting several college outside linebackers/defensive ends, including Purdue's Anthony Spencer and Notre Dame's Victor Abiamiri.
Meanwhile, Ravens Insider has learned what Thomas turned down from the San Francisco 49ers.
He could have signed a deal with $20 million in guaranteed money as part of a five-year, $40 million package. Concerns about the high cost of living in Northern California and the Patriots' salesmanship that he will have a chance to win a Super Bowl ring prompted Thomas' decision.
Also, Thomas built a strong rapport with Patriots coach Bill Belichick when he coached the AFC squad at this year's Pro Bowl.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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