For the third consecutive season the Bills have made a veteran addition at cornerback, signing Houston free agent Kevin Johnson to a one-year deal.
Buffalo had the benefit of having a coach on staff who knows Johnson personally in secondary coach John Butler. Butler served as Johnson’s defensive backs coach in Houston his first three seasons in the league.
That was also seen as a plus in the eyes of Johnson, who has a strong familiarity with a position coach who will be working with him every day.
"Coach J.B. I had in Houston for three years and he's a very good coach that I know," said Johnson. "With him being here that's a good thing for me because I know he's a great DB coach. Leslie Frazier is a great defensive coordinator. Coach McDermott is a great coach as well, so for me to be able to come into that situation with three great coaches in place, it was a great thing for me."
Johnson was also attracted to Buffalo because he saw the Bills as a team on the way up.
"You can see that it's a team on the rise," said Johnson. "It's a team where the guys are eager to be part of this culture. It's a healthy culture here and I'm looking to add to it."
Johnson, 26, is a former first-round pick of the Texans (2015) and has been a starter for most of his career. He made 18 starts in 35 career games in Houston. He accumulated 128 tackles, 14 passes defensed and one interception in his four NFL seasons.
This past season Johnson suffered a concussion in the season opener and was placed on injured reserve the following week.
In 2016, his season was derailed in Week 6 when he suffered a broken foot in a win over Indianapolis where he posted a career-best nine tackles and a pass breakup.
"All that stuff is behind me," said Johnson of his injury history. "My time in Houston was good, and I had bumps in the road as far as injuries were concerned, but I'm feeling healthy and all those things are behind me. I learned from those things and it made me a better person and player. I'm just ready to push forward and I'm excited about it."
Johnson is expected to compete with second-year CB Levi Wallace for a starting role. Johnson also has experience in the slot and could push second-year nickel Taron Johnson for time inside.
"As far as the cornerback spot is concerned," said Johnson. "They did a very good job at that spot last year. So I've got to come in here and earn my respect from my teammates and the coaching staff. I'm going to come in here and do that and just work."