The New England Patriots decided to work out a veteran linebacker yesterday in 30-year-old Brandon Johnson, according to a league source close to ESPN Boston’s Field Yates. Johnson played in all sixteen games for four straight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2008 to 2011 before signing with an AFC North rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers last season. In 2012, the special teams player recorded ten tackles and was veteran depth for the Steelers. If signed by the Patriots, then that would be exactly the role that Brandon Johnson would fill out with his new team.
It sounds like the Patriots are still looking to fill out their roster with depth at the linebacker position, and it will be interesting to see what kind of veteran depth Johnson can bring to the Pats. His best season came in his first year in Cincy (third season in the league after two nondescript years with the Arizona Cardinals to start off his career) with 83 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions to go with four passes defended.
Johnson played college ball for the Louisville Cardinals before being selected by the NFL’s Cardinals as a fifth round pick. It looks like Johnson is a capable backup inside linebacker in coverage, and his veteran experience and ability to contribute on special teams make me believe that Johnson has the ability to be quality depth to Brandon Spikes and the other guys at LB. However, Johnson would most likely be just a camp body if signed by the Patriots.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.