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Michael Johnson returns to Bengals on four-year deal

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Michael Johnson is headed back to Cincinnati.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the veteran defensive end has reached a four-year, $20 million deal with the Bengals, according to a source involved with the process. Johnson returns to the Bengals after a one-year stint with the Buccaneers.

Bengals team site editor Geoff Hobson posted a photo of Johnson at team headquarters after signing his new deal.

Johnson's return is a boon for Marvin Lewis' defense, which struggled to generate a pass rush last season. Johnson has registered just 7.5 sacks over the past two seasons, but did have 11.5 sacks when playing with a healthy Geno Atkins in 2012. The Bengals hope both players will return to form in 2015.

Johnson, 28, struggled with injuries after signing a five-year, $43.75 million deal with the Bucs last March. He a was part of the veteran purge by Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who released Johnson, left tackle Anthony Collins and quarterback Josh McCown just one year into their respective deals.

According to Rapoport, Johnson has no offsets in his new deal. Johnson will get $7 million from the Bucs in 2015 on top of his salary with the Bengals. All told, the Bucs move forward having paid Johnson $16 million for 14 games. In a twist pointed out by The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals are still due a third-round compensatory pick from the Bucs for losing Johnson last year. Now Cincinnati has both the player and the pick.

The Bengals were a favorite for Johnson's services upon his release. Johnson visited with the Vikings, who are coached by former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, but Johnson opted for a Cincy reunion.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down DeMarco Murray's move to the Eagles and breaks down which teams have been wise in free agency. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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