After 12 seasons in the NFL, San Diego Chargers OLB Jarret Johnson has decided to retire instead of playing out the final year of his contract.
Former Ravens linebacker Jarrett Johnson is retiring, he announced. One of the toughest players in the league— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) February 24, 2015
Johnson played 9 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before signing with the San Diego Chargers in 2012. He totaled 184 game appearances and 132 starts in his career, racking up 25.5 sacks and 349 tackles, but where San Diego will miss him most is his run defense and leadership in the locker room.
Jarret Johnson is actually younger than his counterpart on the Chargers defensive line, Dwight Freeney, who is a free agent this offseason and also a candidate to retire this offseason. This makes the recent early draft selections of Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu smart and necessary for the future of the team's pass rush.
When A.J. Smith signed Jarret Johnson away from the Baltimore Ravens, he was roundly applauded by the rest of the league. We were told that we were getting a tough, talented player that would be a leader to younger players, and somehow he was even better than advertised.
Johnson was probably never going to play out his contract as it was written up. He was due a cap hit of $7.5 million this year, but the team would've saved $5 million in cap space if they released him. Even if he had stayed with the team, he likely would've been asked to restructure that deal. It's possible that this retirement had been planned for years.