The Buccaneers have released defensive end Michael Johnson, who signed a five-year deal with the team as a free agent last year.
Tampa Bay signed Johnson as a free agent last offseason after he spent his first five years in the league with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Johnson signed a five-year, $43.75 million deal with the Bucs in 2014. With his release, the Buccaneers will still owe the defensive end $7 million, but they will avoid paying $7 million that would have become guaranteed if he remained with the team for 2015 season.
Last season, Johnson appeared in 14 games, starting 13. Limited by injuries during his time with the Buccaneers, the 28-year-old recorded 27 tackles with four sacks and two forced fumbles. In six career seasons, Johnson has 223 tackles, 30.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Tampa Bay finished last year 2-14, ranked No. 25 in both points allowed and yards allowed and No. 31 in yards allowed differential.
Last week, Pro Football Talk reported that the Bengals, who finished last season No. 30 in the NFL in sacks, would work to bring Johnson back to Cincinnati if he was released by the Buccaneers.