To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2015 free agents. Next up is defensive end George Johnson.
16 games (0 starts) | 29 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 1 PD, 1 FR
How he joined the Lions
Signed as a free agent in April 2014.
Case for re-signing him
Johnson is a restricted free agent (for now, anyway), and Martin Mayhew has already made it known that he is going to be tendered. It's unclear what level tender Johnson will receive, but the Lions want him back after a breakout season in 2014. Johnson really came out of nowhere after originally being signed as nothing more than a camp body. He quickly earned a roster spot in training camp with his performance, and he later earned a spot in the rotation. With six sacks last season and a chance to retain him as a restricted free agent, re-signing him is a no-brainer for the Lions.
Case against re-signing him
I suppose the only situation where not re-signing Johnson would make sense is if the Lions tender him and have an opportunity to receive compensation for him. In other words, let's say the Lions put a second-round tender on Johnson and he signs an offer sheet elsewhere. This is highly, highly unlikely since restricted free agents rarely change teams, but the Lions could then decide against matching the offer and receive a second-round pick as compensation. That's really the only scenario where I could see him playing for another team next season.
Because of his RFA status, it'd be pretty shocking if Johnson isn't back with the Lions next season. Considering he emerged as their No. 3 defensive end behind Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones and contributed to their stellar defensive line, making sure Johnson is back in Detroit next season is definitely the right move.