Johnson, who was released by the Panthers last week, has re-signed with the only team he's played for in the NFL. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports it's a one-year, $3 million deal, per a source informed of his plans. The defensive end, who visited with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in recent days, turned down offers of $6 million from other teams, a source told Rapoport.
"It's not about the money," Johnson told ESPN's Josina Anderson by phone on Tuesday. "Carolina is home and I wouldn't have been happy if I went somewhere else."
Johnson jokingly elaborated on his decision Wednesday.
"At least they can't call me 'Big Money' anymore. They have to retire that. I'm 'Small Money' now," the defensive end told the team's official website.
The emergence of Kony Ealy coupled with Johnson's injury history and his $11 million salary-cap hit made him expendable for the Panthers. In a team statement at the time of the release, general manager Dave Gettleman praised Johnson and "(wished) him the best moving forward." It sounded like the Panthers expected a clean break. Instead, a surprise reunion.
The big question is whether the 29-year-old pass rusher can rediscover the spark that was snuffed out by ongoing hamstring issues that limited him to just nine games last season. Johnson piled up 52.5 sacks from 2010 through 2014.