- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Johnson, a third-year veteran who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, has been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010-12) and Minnesota Vikings (2012-13). He has played in 11 career games and was released by the Vikings last week.
At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, he projects as a defensive end in the team's system, where the Patriots have starters Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich atop the depth chart, with rookie Michael Buchanan and second-year player Jake Bequette the backups.
Kearse, at 6-5 and 310 pounds, projects to defensive tackle in the Patriots system. He spent the last two-plus seasons with the Carolina Panthers, appearing in 14 games (8 starts), and was waived/injured by the club at the end of the 2013 preseason (knee).
The Patriots are thin at defensive tackle, having lost Vince Wilfork to a season-ending Achilles injury and with veteran Tommy Kelly (right knee) missing Sunday's win over the Saints. Rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones, along with first-year player Marcus Forston, are the next players on the depth chart.
The team signed veteran four-year veteran Andre Neblett last Wednesday, but he was waived on Saturday in favor of Forston. Neblett cleared waivers today and is free to sign with any team.
11hBy Jackie MacMullan