The Carolina Panthers beat out the Bengals for the services of Landon Johnson, who agreed to terms on a $10 million, three-year deal with the outside linebacker.
A former third-round draft choice of Cincinnati, Johnson has started 53 games during his four-year career. He's started 16 games and has 112 and 109 tackles in each of the past two seasons.
"The city, the team and the coaches all made a tremendous impression on him," Andy Simms, Johnson's agent, told The Associated Press. "It's a tremendous opportunity for him to further his career and get a chance to play where he can help the team."
The Panthers had a need at linebacker after releasing Dan Morgan, who appears destined to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
The Bengals' defense has lost defensive end Justin Smith, safety Madieu Williams and Johnson this offseason.
Johnson is the biggest name the Panthers have brought in since free agency began a week ago, joining guard Keydrick Vincent, defensive lineman Tyler Brayton and cornerback Ricardo Colclough.
Also Friday, the Panthers signed running back LaBrandon Toefield to a one-year deal and released reserve cornerback Patrick Dendy.
Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.