That’s not a huge surprise, since the minimum one-year tender for restricted free agents is projected to be around $1.4 million this year. It’s unclear if the Saints will consider bringing back Johnson on a more affordable deal.
Johnson, 29, has been a solid backup at both tackle and end for the Saints over the past three years since they snagged him from the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. The 6-3, 288-pounder has 55 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble in his career.
The Saints will likely make a stronger push to re-sign their other three restricted free agents -- fullback Jed Collins, safety Rafael Bush and receiver Joe Morgan.
They’ll likely use the second-round tender on Collins (meaning a team would have to give up a second-round pick to sign him away). That tender is projected to cost $2.1 million or more. They may need to use the same tender on Bush, since he could move into a starting role for the Saints this year.
Morgan is tougher to predict since he has shown great potential as a deep-threat receiver, but he also missed last season with a knee injury. They could offer the $1.4 million tender, which comes with no draft-pick compensation, or try to work out a deal for less.
RFA tenders must be made before the start of the new league year on March 11.