Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

The B.C. Lions have signed defensive lineman Micah Johnson to a one-year contract for the 2020 season, per sources.

The 31-year-old signed a one-year contract for the 2019 season with Saskatchewan worth $250,000. That made Johnson the highest paid defensive player in the CFL. He recorded 26 tackles and four sacks in 15 games during his first year with the Riders.

Even though Johnson had a lower sack total than expected in Saskatchewan, advanced analytics in the football operations department displayed clear data. Johnson was doubled teamed on over 80 percent of the snaps while on the field for the Riders. All the attention from opposing offences allowed linebackers Derrick Moncrief, Solomon Elimimian and Cameron Judge to be free and make plays.

The 31-year-old had suitors. The B.C. Lions were seriously interested in bring Johnson to the Left coast. In the East, Toronto had money free for an anchor on the d-line and Ottawa pursued Johnson.

Johnson was a CFL all-star in 2018 producing 28 tackles, 14 quarterback takedowns — second most in the league — with three forced fumbles and one interception. That’s how he became known as the most disruptive inside force in the CFL.

Prior to coming north of the border, Johnson went unselected in the 2010 NFL draft. He spent his rookie training camp with the Miami Dolphins and made five tackles with 1.5 sacks in four pre-season contests. During Johnson’s NFL debut with the Dolphins he made one tackle. After stints on the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals practice squads, Johnson signed with Calgary in 2013.

Through six seasons with the Stampeders, Johnson recorded 158 tackles, 41 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions. Johnson turned down more than $200,000 from Calgary to hit the open market and eventually switched to Saskatchewan.

Johnson is a major disruptive presence.

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.