NFL free agency doesn’t officially begin until Thursday, but the Carolina Panthers made an important signing Tuesday, locking up former Georgia defensive end Charles Johnson to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million.
#Panthers signed DE Charles Johnson to a 2-yr, $9.5M deal, source said. Likely finishes his career in Charlotte, turned down more elsewhere
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2017
After leaving Georgia in the spring of 2007, Johnson joined the Panthers as the 83rd overall pick in the third round of the NFL draft. He made little impact as a rookie, but he contributed 10 sacks during his second and third seasons combined.
Then in 2010, he became a starter and led the Panthers with 11.5 sacks. Johnson would lead the team in sacks each of the next two years. From 2010-2014, he averaged about 10 sacks per season and reached the double-digit sack total in three different years.
These last two seasons, injuries have slowed down the lifetime member of the Panthers, but he did record 3.0 sacks during Carolina’s postseason run in 2015. This past season, Johnson posted 26 total tackles and 4.0 sacks in 13 starts.
Johnson, who is second in franchise history with 67.5 career sacks, is extremely excited to be going back to the Panthers.
“I have two years to prove myself and ball out for the team that I love,” he said according to NFL.com. “I’m going to give everything I’ve got. I love this group. I love the coaches. I love everybody up top. It’s just loyalty at its finest.”
Johnson is one of two former Georgia Bulldogs on the Carolina defense. The other is linebacker Thomas Davis, who played for the Bulldogs from 2002-04. Johnson recorded 13.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss in his career at Georgia.