Landon Johnson's agent announced on Twitter Friday night that the free agent linebacker has agreed to a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Johnson was scheduled to visit the Lions earlier this week, and the two sides agreed to terms only a couple days later.
Johnson was released by the Panthers on March 5 after spending two seasons with the team. Before that he played for the Bengals from 2004-07 and led the team in tackles for three seasons. His numbers dropped significantly in Carolina because he didn't start a single game in 2008 and was only in the starting lineup 3 times last season. This was quite a change after he started 53 games in four seasons with the Bengals, but as John Niyo points out, he was more of a special teams player with the Panthers.
As also mentioned in the initial post, Danny Crossman, the Lions' special teams coach, held the same position in Carolina before coming to Detroit. That is the connection Johnson has to the Lions' coaching staff, so I'm sure Crossman was an advocate of bringing him in for special teams purposes.
As a linebacker there are obviously a lot of question marks after Johnson's numbers dropped off so much in recent seasons. I'm sure the Lions are thinking that Johnson is a depth player who will compete for a spot on the roster based largely on his special teams abilities. If he can get back to his old form as a linebacker, then Johnson could potentially develop into a player who sees a decent amount of playing time as a backup.