Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs miss on Charles Johnson, re-sign Keith Tandy

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Charles Johnson #95 and Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers walk together against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) 602536555

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Charles Johnson #95 and Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers walk together against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) 602536555

TAMPA — NFL teams can officially sign unrestricted free agents starting today at 4 p.m. as a new league year begins, but the Bucs already had a big swing — and miss — on Tuesday.

The Bucs brought in former Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson for a visit, wooing the 29-year-old as they seek the dominant outside pass-rusher they've lacked. Johnson, who averaged 101/2 sacks a season from 2010-14 but was limited by a hamstring injury last year, had been cut by Carolina in a salary-cap move as he was due to make $11 million this year.

"2mor u will know my future!!! It's going to be epic," Johnson wrote cryptically on Twitter, giving hope to Bucs fans.

By 7:30 p.m., however, multiple reports had Johnson returning to Carolina, and ESPN reported that he chose a one-year, $3 million offer when other teams (he visited the Giants and Bucs) had offered $6 million a year.

The big question, still, for the Bucs is whether they re-sign running back Doug Martin, who was second in the NFL in rushing. Both sides have expressed an interest in him staying in Tampa, but the Bucs haven't offered enough to keep him from seeking offers elsewhere.

Tandy signs: The Bucs re-signed safety Keith Tandy to a two-year contract and released linebacker Bruce Carter a year into his four-year deal.

Keeping Tandy, an unrestricted free agent, is a boost on defense and on special teams. Tandy, 27, reset his career high with 42 total tackles in 2015, and he has four interceptions in four seasons.

Carter, 28, was signed to start at middle linebacker but lost that job in training camp to rookie Kwon Alexander. He started three games after Alexander was suspended, but his 47 total tackles were his fewest since his rookie year; after leading all NFL linebackers with five interceptions in 2014, he had none in 2015. The Bucs take no salary-cap hit — he had a roster bonus of $750,000 due this week had he not been cut.

This and that: Restricted free agent receiver Russell Shepard got a $1.6 million, one-year tender that lets the Bucs match any offer. Shepard, 27, has been a leader in kick coverage but played sparingly on offense in three seasons. … The Bucs did not offer a tender to defensive end Olatunji Fatinikun, an exclusive-rights free agent who had 12 tackles in 12 games with the Bucs but is recovering from ACL surgery. Fatinikun, 24, could sign with the team later this year.

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs miss on Charles Johnson, re-sign Keith Tandy 03/08/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season


    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined


    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  3. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  4. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  5. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs


    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]