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12 March 2014


Tampa Bay Signs Four on Day 1 of League Year, Including Two of Offseason’s Top Free Agents
Tampa Bay Signs Four on Day 1 of League Year, Including Two of Offseason’s Top Free Agents
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have signed defensive end Michael Johnson, Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and tight end Brandon Myers as unrestricted free agents.
Johnson (6-7, 270) joins Tampa Bay after five seasons (2009-13) with Cincinnati, where he was a third-round (70th overall) selection of the Bengals in the 2009 NFL Draft. Johnson has played in 79 career games (with 45 starts) recording 260 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 27 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He has also played in four postseason games, with two starts.
Over the last two years, Johnson is one of three defensive ends, along with J.J. Watt and Calais Campbell, to accumulate at least 100 tackles, 15 sacks and 10 passes defensed. Johnson, who will wear jersey No. 90, recorded a career-best nine passes defensed last year, the most by a defensive end in the NFL, and his 25 passes defensed since entering the NFL in 2009 are the third-most by a defensive end in that span. In 2012, Johnson recorded 11.5 sacks, the ninth-most in the league. His three interceptions since 2011 are tied for the most by a defensive lineman in the NFL over that span.
Based on Bengals coaches’ game review in 2013, Johnson led Cincinnati defensive linemen in tackles (74), while ranking second on the team in quarterback pressures (33). Since becoming a full-time starter in 2012, Johnson has been a key part of a Bengals defense that has helped the team to consecutive postseason berths. During that time, the Bengals have recorded the third-most sacks in the NFL, while ranking fourth in the league in both points and yards allowed.
A native of Selma, Alabama, Johnson played collegiately at Georgia Tech (2005-08), earning first-team All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association as a senior.
Verner (5-10, 186) joins the Buccaneers from the Tennessee Titans (2010-13), where he was a fourth-round selection (104th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft. In his four-year career, Verner, who will wear jersey No. 21, has started 47-of-64 career games, recording 288 tackles, 50 passes defensed, 11 interceptions, five fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
In 2013, Verner tied for the NFL lead with a career-high 22 passes defensed. He also recorded a career-best five interceptions, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL and the most in the AFC. Last season, Verner earned his first Pro Bowl selection, as well as second-team All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.
Since taking over as a starter in 2012, Verner has opened all 32 games he has played, posting the fourth-most passes defensed in the NFL and tying for the 10th-most interceptions in the league during that time. According to Pro Football Focus, during the 2013 season, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 55.8 when targeting Verner, the third-lowest mark in the NFL.
A native of Lakewood, California, Verner played collegiately at UCLA (2006-09), where he set the school record for interceptions returned for touchdowns, with four. As a senior, Verner earned third-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and the NFL Draft Report, in addition to being a first-team All-Pac 10 selection. Verner was also a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award as a senior, given annually to the best defensive back in college football. He earned his degree in mathematics and applied science from UCLA in 2011.
McDonald (6-2, 297) joins the Buccaneers after three seasons (2011-13) with the Seahawks. He entered the league as a seventh-round pick (249th overall) of Cincinnati in the 2009 NFL Draft. McDonald spent the 2009 season on the Bengals’ practice squad, before being promoted to the active roster in 2010. Prior to the 2011 season, McDonald was traded to Seattle.
In his five-year career, McDonald has played in 52 games, with two starts, while also playing in five postseason games, with one start. He had his most productive season in 2013, recording career highs in sacks (5.5), passes defensed (2), fumble recoveries (2) and interceptions (1). In his postseason career, McDonald has recovered two fumbles and was a member of Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII Championship team.
A native of Jacksonville, Arkansas, McDonald – who will wear jersey No. 98 – played collegiately at Memphis (2005-08), starting 33-of-48 games, totaling 141 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He earned first-team All-Conference USA honors as a senior, leading the team with 7.0 sacks.
Myers (6-3, 256), spent the 2013 season with the New York Giants. Prior to his time in New York, Myers played four seasons in Oakland (2009-12), where he was a sixth-round pick (202nd overall) by the Raiders in the 2009 NFL Draft. In his career, Myers has played in 74 games, with 42 starts, recording 158 receptions for 1,578 yards and eight touchdowns.
Myers, who will wear jersey No. 92, tied his career high with four receiving touchdowns last season, his second consecutive season with four touchdown receptions. In 2012, Myers led Oakland in receptions (79) and receiving yards (806) – both career highs.
A native of Prairie City, Iowa, Myers played collegiately at Iowa (2005-08), where he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior.
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