As of late as recently, ex-Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals hostile lineman Fred Johnson expected to spend the 2022 season repeating his job as one of Joe Burrow’s defenders, having been essential for Cincy’s hostile line room starting around 2019. In any case, directly following marking La’el Collins, the Bengals chose to forgo him, doing so very quickly after he inked his one-year delicate as a confined free specialist. It was the vital turning point of what Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk depicted as an “surprising week” for the previous University of Florida item.
Now it appears that Johnson has landed a gig as good as — or better — than the one he had in Cincinnati. According to ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, Johnson is signing a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he’ll have the opportunity to chase a Super Bowl ring with Tom Brady & Co.
Former Bengals’ free-agent offensive lineman Fred Johnson is signing a one-year contract with the Buccaneers, per @DrewJRosenhaus and @RyanMatha.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2022
Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Johnson had been scheduled to earn $2.433 million under the terms of the one-year contract he signed with the Bengals, as per overthecap.com. In 2021, he earned a salary of $850,000.
Fred Johnson Started His NFL Career in Pittsburgh
Johnson, who will turn 25 on June 5, came into the NFL with the Steelers in 2019, and was described as “one of the Steelers’ most consistent and best young offensive linemen at Saint Vincent during training camp,” according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“He’s a very athletic guy and with size, who moves well and has got big long arms, locks guys out,” offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett told Adamski. “But he’s still a baby. He’s got a long way to go. He’s a guy we need to continue to develop, a young guy we are hoping to spend a little extra time with if needed. He’s done great in the classroom, he’s bought in; I think he’s just going to continue to develop. He’s one of the young guys we’re excited about.”
Yet little more than two months later, the Steelers waived him (along with linebacker Jayrone Elliott) to make room for fullback Trey Edmunds and quarterback Paxton Lynch. The Bengals claimed him and kept him through the remainder of his rookie year and on through two more seasons.
Johnson Earned an 81.0 Grade From PFF in 2021
The 6-foot-7, 326-pounder joins the Buccaneers with 23 games of NFL experience under his belt, according to Pro Football Reference. That includes eight starts, six of which came during the 2020 season. In 2021, Johnson received an 81.0 grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF), generated from the combination of an 83.6 run blocking grade and 61.3 pass blocking grade across 90 offensive snaps.