Panthers lock up DE Johnson

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

CHARLOTTE - The Carolina Panthers have worked out a deal to keep touted defensive end Charles Johnson in the fold.

A year after letting Julius Peppers bolt to the Bears, the Panthers worked quickly, inking Johnson to a six-year, $76 million contract with $32 million guaranteed -- as reported by NFL.com.

Johnson, 25, was viewed as one of the league's top free agents after posting a team-high 11.5 sacks and 27 quarterback pressures in 2010. He tallied 73 tackles while starting all 16 games at left defensive end.

The parties will not be able to officially ink the deal until Friday at 6 p.m. ET, when the NFL's free agency period officially gets underway.


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