Taron Johnson earned a pay raise before going the length of the field with an interception return for a touchdown that defined the Buffalo Bills' playoff victory over Baltimore last January.
But the fourth-year nickel cornerback just kept going and on Saturday was rewarded with a three-year contract extension, the team announced.
According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the value is $24 million, with around $14 million guaranteed. That's exponentially more than the four-year, $3.1 million rookie contract he's playing for now.
Johnson was a fourth-round pick of the Bills in the same 2018 NFL Draft that brought them quarterback Josh Allen, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and fellow cornerback Siran Neal. He's made his mark in Buffalo by not only perfectly fitting their coverage schemes but going above and beyond in run support.
Last year, Johnson contributed 94 tackles, a sack and an interception before coming through with his game-changing play against the Ravens. In three games this season, he has 15 total tackles, five passes defended, one sack and one forced fumble.
"Probably over 500 times," was Johnson's response during training camp when asked how many times he's watched it.
Johnson also had a pick-six in the regular season in helping the Bills defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-15, in 2020.
After battling through injury issues his first two seasons, Johnson rebounded to play every game last year. He did miss last week's 40-0 shutout over Houston with a minor groin injury.
"He's worked extremely hard to get a good grasp of the defense to the point where now he's like a coach on the field," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said in quotes posted to the team's website. "And Jimmy Salgado, who works with our nickels, has done a terrific job of spending time with him both at practice, in the classroom, pre-practice. So that's helped as well.
"He's developed into a really, really good player, one of the best slot corners in the National Football League. So we are very fortunate to watch his development and see his maturation over this period."
Johnson's growth within the scheme is what compelled Buffalo to lock him up.
"Against Miami, we were playing a zone coverage where we want to kind of disguise it and make it look like man as much as we can," Frazier said. "And he's doing a good job of that in trying to trick the quarterback, which is something he wouldn't have done, say, two years ago. But because of his experience, because of his growth, his confidence, he's able to do things like that and turned out to be a play where he ended up stripping the football and Matt Milano ends up recovering the football just because of some of his disguise. He's become a big time playmaker for us."
And should continue to be through 2024.