Former Penn State and New York Giants nose tackle Austin Johnson has signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in NFL free agency. The deal is for two years and $14 million. Johnson fills a critical position of need as the Chargers finished 30th in total defense, and the rushing defense allowed 4.6 yards per attempt.
Johnson joins the newly acquired Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year linebacker Khalil Mack in a trade from the Chicago Bears, as well as former New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson who signed a five-year pact with the Chargers earlier in the free agency period.
Although Johnson might not be the biggest name that has come to Los Angeles however, he may be the most important addition. Last season Chargers too often was pushed around at the line of scrimmage, and Johnson’s strength and leverage will help out with that issue.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive linemen was selected in the second round, 43rd overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2016 NFL draft that spent the past two seasons playing under his former defensive line coach at Penn State Sean Spencer in New York. That familiarity led to the best season of his career in 2021 by posting 72 combined tackles with 3.5 sacks.
The Galloway, NJ native totaled 90 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks in his career at Penn State. In 2015, he was named first-team All-Big Ten by the Associated Press and Athlon Sports.