When George Johnson signed his offer sheet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that was supposed to be it. He was not signed to a second round tender so the Lions would receive nothing for choosing not to match his offer. His contract called for almost $3 million per season, and the Lions certainly would not match that right? Well the team disputed the terms of the offer sheet, and the NFL agreed that there was some funny business in the terms, sending it to an independent arbitrator.
The Lions disputing the offer sheet looked like a good sign that they planned to retain Johnson. Today it was announced that the Buccaneers have agreed to a trade with the Detroit Lions that would send George Johnson’s rights to them. This move essentially allowed Tampa Bay to sign Johnson at the deal they offered him without interference, and it also allowed the Lions to get something for a player they otherwise would have gotten nothing for.
The Detroit Lions return on this trade is not immediately known, although early talk is that it was a swap of late round draft picks. That means it was likely a swap of 7th rounders. I will update the terms of the deal here when they are made known.
UPDATE: The Detroit Lions gave up the first of their two 7th round picks with Johnson in exchange for Tampa Bay’s last 5th round pick (32nd in the round). That trade gives the Lions a draft pick in every round except for round 4, but that could change by the time the draft is under way.