The Winnipeg Blue Bombers took Jovon Johnson off the free-agent market Tuesday.
The cornerback-kick returner was slated to become a free agent next month. But the Bombers re-signed Johnson to a new deal.
Johnson started all 18 games with Winnipeg last year, posting 75 tackles and six interceptions — returning one for a TD en route to be named a CFL all-star. Johnson was also a solid special-teams performer, returning 65 punts for 593 yards and a TD as well as three missed field goals for 203 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement for me to remain a Blue Bomber,” Johnson said in a statement. “I think we did some great things last season and I hope to build on that heading into 2010.
“The fans in Winnipeg are great and the support we get definitely weighed in on my decision. It’s a great football city.”
However, the Bombers lost linebacker Derrick Doggett, who agreed to a contract with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Doggett finished fourth in the CFL in special-teams tackles with 28 and also added nine tackles, an interception and forced fumble in 15 games with Winnipeg.
“Derrick came in and was a real demon on special teams for us, while also chipping in on defence when his opportunity came,” said interim vice-president of football operations Ross Hodgkinson in a statement. “We wish him the best moving forward with Pittsburgh.”
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were also busy, re-signing safety Sandy Beveridge and linebacker Yannick Carter.
“We’re excited to extend the contracts of two valuable Canadian players,” GM Bob O’Billovich said. “Last season, Sandy provided us with solid play at safety and on special teams, while Yannick continued to show that he’s one of the better special teams players in the league.”
The six-foot-two, 214-pound Beveridge, a native of Port Coquitlam, B.C., had a career-high 41 defensive tackles last season along with two interceptions and a sack. Beveridge is heading into his eighth CFL season.
Carter, a six-foot-one, 205-pound native of Pickering, Ont., registered a career-high 24 special-teams tackles last year, his first with Hamilton. Carter joined the Ticats in an off-season trade with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.