MINNEAPOLIS -- Tom Johnson was looking for some long-term security after posting the best season of his career for the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He got it in the form of a three-year deal that will pay him $2.25 million guaranteed in 2015.
Johnson's three-year, $7 million deal with the Vikings includes $2.75 million of guaranteed money, with most of it coming in the first year of the deal. The 30-year-old defensive tackle will get a $1.5 million roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year (Saturday), and his $750,000 base salary is fully guaranteed for 2015.
His base salary jumps to $2.3 million in the final two years of the contract, but only $500,000 of it is guaranteed in 2016 and none of it is guaranteed in 2017. Johnson's 2016 guarantee kicks in on the third day of the league year; the $500,000 is currently guaranteed against injury only. His deal includes $50,000 workout bonuses in each year of the contract.
Effectively, his deal is another example of the pay-as-you-go philosophy the Vikings have employed with vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski managing their salary cap. Johnson will have to earn his money in the final two years of the deal, and the contract almost functions like three one-year agreements. Once again, the Vikings used a roster bonus in lieu of a signing bonus to prevent the risk of dead money charges in the future. It's another sensible, team-friendly contract for a late-blooming player that will get the opportunity to prove his 2014 season wasn't a fluke -- and will need to take advantage of that opportunity to fully maximize his deal.