It protects the Seahawks in several ways. Seattle has the right of first refusal if another team makes Johnson an offer, giving the Seahawks a five-day window to match the deal.
If they don’t match it, Seattle will receive a second-round draft choice from the team that signs him. If Johnson doesn’t sign elsewhere, he will receive a $2.187 million contract from the Seahawks for the 2014 season.
That’s a huge increase from his $560,000 salary in 2013. Johnson played in only seven games last season (only 28 snaps on defense) while battling hamstring injuries in both legs. But Johnson is an athletic defensive back and strong special-teams player, a man the Seahawks, obviously, would like to keep.
It’s possible the Seahawks will ask Johnson to sign the tender offer and try to work out a smaller salary for a two- or three-year deal. The 2013 season was Johnson’s third year out of Boise State.
Placing the tender on Johnson could mean the Seahawks don’t expect to re-sign back-up safety Chris Maragos, an unrestricted free agent who counted $860,000 against the salary cap in 2013.