Chargers add run-stuffing linebacker

March, 14, 2012
3/14/12
2:48
PM ET
The San Diego Chargers entered the offseason with getting a top pass-rusher as one of their biggest needs.

Within the first 24 hours of free agency, San Diego secured an outside linebacker. However, in former Baltimore linebacker Jarret Johnson, San Diego didn’t get a dynamic pass-rusher, but it got one of the better run-stopping outside linebackers in the NFL. The team announced Johnson has agreed to a four-year deal.

Johnson, 31, was an underrated part of the Ravens’ defense for the past nine seasons. His last defensive coordinator in Baltimore was Chuck Pagano, who is the brother of new San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano.

Don’t expect Johnson to improve the Chargers’ pass rush. He has 20 career sacks, four in the past two seasons and his highest single-season sack total is six. But he should improve the defense as a whole.

The Chargers will likely try to draft a pass-rusher early in next month’s draft. One possibility could be Kamerion Wimbley if the Raiders cut him.

UPDATE: Here are the thoughts of Scouts Inc’s Matt Williamson on the Johnson addition:

“He’s tough guy from a great defense in Baltimore, but also was also did benefit from all the great players around him there. But no doubt. Johnson is a fantastic run stopper. He takes away the edge as well as any outside linebacker in the league. But he isn’t much of a pass rusher. I would imagine that he gives way to Antwan Barnes on throwing downs opposite Shaun Philips.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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