The move is not surprising as Johnson was one of the better players on the team this year as the Sounders advanced into the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their MLS history.
Johnson, playing in his second stint with the MLS, finished with 14 goals during MLS play and was voted the MLS comeback player of the year. His exercised option will be worth less than the designated player level, Hanauer said.
Johnson's play with the Sounders in 2012 earned the eye of the U.S. men's national team and he was called up for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala. He finished his call-up with two goals and an assist.
With Johnson's impending re-signing, Hanauer has acknowledged that the Sounders will have to get creative with their salary cap as the team has less allocation money this time around.