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Michael Johnson optimistic he’ll work out a deal with the Bengals

Max Starks, Michael Johnson AP

Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson had the best season of his career at the right time: Johnson’s 11.5-sack year in 2012 came in the fourth and final season of the rookie contract he signed as a third-round draft pick in 2009. So now Johnson is one of the best pass rushers hitting free agency, and he’s ready to cash in.

But he hopes to cash in by staying in Cincinnati. Johnson said on NFL AM that the Bengals are a franchise heading in the right direction, and he wants to be a part of keeping the Bengals going in the right direction.

“Everything will work itself out and I’ll be in the best situation — hopefully that’s in Cincinnati,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a good thing going. We’ve got to continue to improve, make some more strides and make even more noise. We’ve done a little bit but there’s a lot more left to do. We’ve got a great group of young guys and I’m a part of that, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of that for many years to come.”

Johnson said he’d prefer to get a long-term deal and doesn’t want the Bengals to put the franchise tag on him, but he knows that isn’t his choice. One way or the other, the Bengals have plenty of cap space, and it seems unlikely that they’ll let a good young player get away.

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11 Responses to “Michael Johnson optimistic he’ll work out a deal with the Bengals”
  1. ryandg5 says: Feb 15, 2013 9:46 AM

    I remember the Bengals getting ripped for drafting him because he didn’t have a “motor”. Later, it came out that he played his senior season with sports hernia. Guy is a stud and the Bengals will lock him up

  2. joetoronto says: Feb 15, 2013 9:54 AM

    “The Bengals have plenty of cap space”

    The Bengals ALWAYS have plenty of cap space, because Mike Brown won’t open up his wallet.

    Unless this guy has arrests that aren’t mentioned, which would drive his price down, I wouldn’t count on the Bengals signing him.

  3. bengalizer says: Feb 15, 2013 9:55 AM

    Johnson really is a beast… not just a pass rusher but solid against the run as well. He is a physical specimen and by all accounts a great teammate. He is also active in the community with kids… that said, note to Mike Brown – Keep MJ in the orange and black!

  4. bharr170 says: Feb 15, 2013 10:07 AM

    The trash is gone in the locker room, and it’s a whole new era in Cincinnati. They have 55 mil in cap to mostly re-sign their own players and grab a few more. Things are looking up and guys want to spend their careers here. Finally, it feels good to be a Cincinnati Bengal fan.

  5. Max says: Feb 15, 2013 10:20 AM

    Kinda worried that he only just showed up in his contract year… i would tag him and see if he can make the effort again…

  6. jjthesportsguy says: Feb 15, 2013 10:22 AM

    If you don’t get paid in Cincy, come try to talk Ted Thompson into spending some money in free agency. Some athleticism in the front 7 is what the Packers need on defense.

  7. jmble says: Feb 15, 2013 10:44 AM

    The Bengals have so much cap space because most of their stars are on their rookie contracts. Mike Brown has never been big on bringing in big name free agents, but he has been known to throw money at his own players to keep the core group intact.

    With the exception of TJ Houshmandzadeh, who took less money because he wanted out, and Jonathan Joseph, the Bengals have been very good at resigning their own core players over the last seven or eight years.

    Mike Brown is far from perfect, but these aren’t the same Bengals of the 1990’s.

  8. ajgreenshands says: Feb 15, 2013 10:50 AM

    Joe – while you may have been right in the past, the salary floor will help Bengal fans this year as Mike will be forced to spend 89% of the allowable cap room.

    That being said – I really hope the Bengals don’t let him get away. It wasn’t lost on any true Bengal fan that Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks (both former Bengals) were making plays all over the field for the 49ers this year.

  9. bengalguy says: Feb 15, 2013 4:07 PM

    Poor Toronto….still chewin’ on the Carson Palmer grapes. Not to worry Joe, your Raidahs will be nack to prominence by the turn of the next decade!

  10. vtdcfan says: Feb 15, 2013 4:39 PM

    They better lock him up or other teams like Cleveland will gladly pay him… Tons of cap space there. Plus the browns could get better and make a division team worse

  11. samoanjungle says: Feb 15, 2013 4:55 PM

    If they keep Johnson and Dunlap can regain his burst he had before his injury we could see the best rushing D-Line in the league in Cincy. Dunlap’s sacks were down but he was still pressuring the QB more consistently than Johnson or Atkins so he just needs that finishing speed back.
    I liked what I saw from the 2 rookie DTs also….Fearsome Foursome Cincy style?

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