Seahawks add to D-line with DT P.J. Johnson, claim QB Danny Etling
The Seahawks have added to the interior of their defensive line and their quarterback room, as Seattle reported the team has come to terms with defensive tackle P.J. Johnson and ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that quarterback Danny Etling was claimed off waivers from Atlanta.
Johnson, 24, is 6-foot-3 and weighs 335 pounds and is now the sixth defensive tackle on the Seahawks’ 80-man roster, which is full after Johnson’s signing and Etling being claimed. He was a seventh-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2019 but didn’t make the roster out of training camp.
Johnson signed with the Los Angeles Chargers and spent the last month of the season on the team’s practice squad. He signed a futures contract with Los Angeles, but he was waived at the beginning of August.
Johnson appeared in all four preseason contests for Detroit last year and had eight total tackles, including five in the fourth and final preseason game.
Before entering the NFL, Johnson played collegiately at Sacramento State, where he redshirted his freshman year before starting 11 games during his redshirt-freshman season in 2015. That year, Johnson made 13 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss, and also had a sack and a forced fumble. He missed all of the 2016 season due to a leg injury, and he later had a tumor removed from his right leg.
After missing the 2016 season, Johnson transferred to City College of San Francisco in 2017 and played in 10 games, recording 17 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Johnson again transferred, this time to the University of Arizona, where he played in 10 games, starting in nine of them, and had 31 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, a pass break up, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and a safety. He declared for the draft after his lone year with the Wildcats, where he was a Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention.
Johnson now joins presumed starters Jarran Reed and Poona Ford as well as 2019 sixth-round pick Demarcus Christmas, 2019 undrafted rookie free agent Bryan Mone and 2020 undrafted rookie Cedrick Lattimore at the defensive tackle position for the Seahawks. Reed and Ford started at that spot last season and Mone appeared in four games. Christmas missed the entire season with a back injury.
Etling, 26, was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2018 after playing college ball for two years each at Purdue and LSU. He appeared in 13 games (12 starts) at Purdue, where he had just under 2,500 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his two seasons. He transferred to LSU, sat out a year, and started 23 of 24 games he appeared in while completing about 60% of his passes for 4,586 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
During the fourth preseason game of 2018, Etling went 18-32 for 157 yards and one touchdown pass while throwing two interceptions. He also ran for 113 yards on just seven carries, highlighted by an 86-yard touchdown run, which is the longest quarterback run in New England preseason history. He was cut after the preseason but stayed on the Patriots’ practice squad for the whole season.
Etling then converted to receiver at the start of camp in 2019, but was waived and claimed by the Atlanta Falcons, who the Seahawks play in Week 1 of the 2020 season.
The Falcons moved Etling back to quarterback. He spent most of the year on the practice squad, being activated to backup Matt Schaub when starter Matt Ryan was injured, but never appeared in an NFL game. Etling signed a futures contract after the season and was waived on Monday. He spent five days on the reserve/COVID-19 earlier in August.
Etling now joins starting quarterback Russell Wilson, 2019 backup Geno Smith and 2020 undrafted rookie Anthony Gordon, who played college ball at WSU, in the Seahawks’ quarterback room.