Charles Johnson expects to return to Panthers on 1-year deal

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

After visiting with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive end Charles Johnson expects to re-sign with the Carolina Panthers on a one-year deal, Johnson told ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Sources told ESPN that the deal is worth $3 million and that Johnson turned down offers worth $6 million per year from other teams to remain with the Panthers.

Johnson, who will turn 30 this offseason, was released March 3 after nine seasons with the Panthers, with whom he ranks second all-time in sacks (63.5) and forced fumbles (17).

Johnson told Anderson that he almost signed with the Giants.

"I came pretty close, but ultimately my heart is in Carolina," Johnson said. "It's not about the money. Carolina is home, and I wouldn't have been happy if I went somewhere else.

"The Giants are a first-class organization, but now I have one more year to get back where I want to be, at home."

Johnson missed seven games in the 2015 season because of a hamstring injury. After finishing the regular season with one sack, he had three more during the Panthers' run to Super Bowl 50.

A team captain with Carolina, Johnson had one year remaining on the six-year, $76 million deal given to him in 2011, which he had already restructured twice. By cutting him this offseason the team cleared $11 million in cap space.

Johnson recorded at least nine sacks in four consecutive seasons, from 2010 to '13, a first with the Panthers. Drafted in the third round in 2007, he played in 118 regular-season games for the Panthers, which ranks third in franchise history for a defensive lineman.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and David Newton contributed to this report.