Ex-Bills Safety Returns to NFL After Months Away, Signs With Buccaneers

Jaquan Johnson

Getty Jaquan Johnson #46 of the Buffalo Bills runs during a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at New Era Field on August 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York.

Months after his contract with the Buffalo Bills expired and he failed to stick with the Las Vegas Raiders, safety Jaquan Johnson has a chance to return to the NFL.

As NFL reporter JC Allen noted on X, the veteran safety has signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad on November 15.

“The #GoBucs have signed S Jaquan Johnson to the practice squad and released DL C.J. Brewer,” Allen reported. “The veteran safety was drafted by the Bill in 2019 and spent 4 season with them totaling 58 tackles 2 interceptions even completing a pass for 13 yards.

“He signed with the Raiders in March but was part of roster cut downs in August and has been out of football since.”

As Johnson heads to the NFC South, the Bills are looking for more depth at safety following a key injury.

Jaquan Johnson’s Opportunity in Tampa

Johnson entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick in 2019 and appeared in 60 games for the Bills over the following four seasons, though was mostly a special teams player. He registered 58 total tackles with two interceptions during his tenure in Buffalo.

Though Johnson had an opportunity last season as the Bills lost Micah Hyde to a season-ending injury in Week 2 and lost fellow safety Jordan Poyer to a series of injuries, it was instead second-year safety Damar Hamlin who took over starting duties.

Johnson will have the opportunity to provide depth in Tampa. The Buccaneers have been strong on defense for much of the season, ranking No. 8 in points allowed with 18.8 per game.

Bills Adding Their Own Depth at Safety

The Bills made a recent addition to their safety room, signing former Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick Tre Norwood to their practice squad after Hyde suffered an injury in the team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

As the Bills’ official website noted, Norwood had been with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this season but was released.

“Norwood was a seventh round selection by the Steelers in 2021 and played two season in Pittsburgh before signing on the 49ers’ practice squad in September,” the report noted. “He was released by San Francisco on Oct. 24. Norwood was a four-year player at the University of Oklahoma (2017-2020).”

With Hyde out of the lineup against the Denver Broncos on November 13, the Bills inserted Hamlin in on defense for the first time since suffering cardiac arrest on the field last season. Hamlin came in late in the fourth quarter, making one tackle.

The Bills have endured a number of injuries in their secondary, losing cornerback Tre’Davious White to a season-ending torn Achilles and losing second-year corner Christian Benford for Monday’s loss to the Broncos. The Bills added a pair of veterans, signing Josh Norman and landing Rasul Douglas from the Green Bay Packers at the trade deadline.

They were hit in other areas of the defense as well, losing linebacker Matt Milano to a fractured leg and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones. The injures have contributed to the team’s struggles, with the Bills dropping to 5-5 after the loss to the Broncos.

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