ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills relieved a logjam at defensive end by trading Darryl Johnson to the Carolina Panthers on Monday.
Buffalo acquired a sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft in a trade completed a day before NFL teams are required to cut their rosters to 53 players.
Entering his third season with Buffalo, Johnson proved to be the odd-man out at a pass-rushing position the Bills spent the offseason restocking with talent. Buffalo used its first two draft picks on selecting defensive ends Greg Rousseau and Carlos Basham, and also signed Efe Obada in free agency.
All three players, plus A.J. Epenesa, are expected to make Buffalo’s roster behind returning starters Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 262 pounds, Johnson was used sparingly on defense, while his true value came on special teams.
Bills special teams coordinator Heath Farwell praised the role Johnson had carved out since Buffalo selected him in the seventh round of the 2019 draft out of North Carolina A&T.
“Pre-game, when I talk to the other coordinators, he’s the first guy that they bring up,” Farwell said. “It’s a mismatch having a guy that big and that fast running down the field. He’s just a huge factor they have to account for.”
Johnson ranked second on the Bills with eight special teams tackles last year. In 2019, he blocked a 33-yard field-goal attempt and had his first career sack in 14-7 win over Tennessee.
Earlier in the day, the Bills released receiver Brandon Powell, running back Kerrith Whyte and cornerback Tim Harris.