Lions contest Bucs' offer sheet for DE George Johnson

The Detroit Lions are contesting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offer sheet for defensive end George Johnson, a league source told Around The NFL.

The news was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

The Lions had until Monday to match the three-year deal for the 27-year-old restricted free agent, who had a breakout season in 2014 with six sacks. Now, it looks like the team was not as laissez-faire about losing Johnson as they seemed.

According to the Lions' official website, "An impartial arbitrator will identify all the terms that would have to be matched and rule within 10 days. Lions then have two days to match."

At the least, it opens the door for Johnson to return depending on a ruling from the arbitrator. If they had absolutely no interest in signing him back, it's unlikely they'd go through the trouble.

The Lions were willing to let many of their key pieces on a once-dominant defensive line go this offseason and put themselves in this position by not offering Johnson a competitive tender.

The front is already projected to look drastically different. Based on the outcome of Monday's appeal, they might be able to keep one familiar face.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the latest moves and debates if Michael Bennett should change his tune on Jimmy Graham. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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