Blue's secret weapon?

KIRK PENTON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

Jovon Johnson starred on defence and special teams for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2009.

Now he wants to add a little offence to his portfolio in 2010.

"I'd probably play slotback," Johnson said yesterday. "They can give me some reverses and I can throw the ball, too, because I played quarterback for a long time.

"I'm telling you, I'd be a secret weapon if they gave me the opportunity."

He's kidding.

We think.

But the cornerback/kick returner will at least be able to put that bug in his new coach's ear -- whoever that might be -- after the Bomber management duo of Ross Hodgkinson and John Murphy inked Johnson to a new contract yesterday for two years and an option.

Johnson, who could have become a CFL free agent next month, said the contract's value puts him among the league's best-paid defensive backs. While he said he hesitated somewhat due to the team's current management and coaching vacancies, he was presented with an offer he couldn't refuse.

"I checked into all the defensive backs' contracts to see where the deal that they gave me would put me, and basically it would pay me to be one of the top three defensive backs in the league," Johnson said.

"When I'm comparing myself to Eddie Davis and those guys who have been there throughout their careers, and for me to only have proven myself really only once -- because my first year I really didn't get the opportunity to do as much and then my second year to do as much as I did -- that's fairly good to have."

Johnson and his agent, Mark Maren, investigated possible NFL opportunities, but they didn't get any serious offers.

"I just wasn't all about the opportunity to just go there for a workout and be just a camp body," Johnson said. "I wasn't looking forward to that at all."

Johnson, 26, had six interceptions last season, one of which he took to the house, and two kick-return touchdowns after assuming those duties midway through the season.

As a result, the Erie, Pa., native was voted the team's most outstanding player and most outstanding special teams player.

Johnson's new deal, along with the one placekicker Alexis Serna signed with Winnipeg last week, means the Bombers have locked up arguably their two most important potential free agents.

They have five players left who are poised to hit the free-agent market in February, and only offensive lineman Ryan Donnelly was a starter. Cornerback James Johnson and backup safety Steven Holness are free to explore their options.

Receiver Aaron Hargreaves and defensive end Pat MacDonald are the other two potential free agents.

GONE DOGGETT: The Bombers lost their third player to the NFL in the last nine days yesterday when special teams demon Derrick Doggett signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Doggett, a 25-year-old backup linebacker, joined the Blue and Gold in July and made 27 special teams tackles in just 15 games, fourth most in the league.

ARGO WATCH: The Argos are reportedly conducting interviews for their vacant head coaching position, and there are several familiar names getting a look.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Greg Marshall, who is interested in the Winnipeg job, is on Toronto's short list, as are Montreal Alouettes offensive co-ordinator Scott Milanovich, Calgary Stampeders defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones and former Bomber head coach Doug Berry.

NEW DEALS: The Ticats re-signed safety Sandy Beveridge and linebacker Yannick Carter yesterday.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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