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Bengals elect to keep D together with Michael Johnson tag

Cincinnati Bengals' Carlos Dunlap celebrates with Michael Johnson after sacking Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor during the second half of play in their NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati Reuters

Having cultivated Michael Johnson, the Bengals weren’t about to let him go.

The Bengals are going to hang onto the fifth-year defensive end by use of the franchise tag, guaranteeing him at least a one-year, $11.175 million deal if they don’t reach a long-term contract.

But that’s still the goal, according to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

“Obviously we are committed to re-signing Mike,” Lewis said in comments distributed by the team, “and this move is part of the process to keep a young and promising defense together.

“Mike has worked hard to improve himself every year during his time as a Bengal, helping us to the postseason three of four years. We have every reason to believe he will continue to grow as a leader and productive player.”

The former third-round pick blossomed last year, with 11.5 sacks and growing as a run defender.

“This guy has come up in our system, he plays about 85 percent of our snaps, and he’s the kind of guy we love to have around,” defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said. “He’s hard-working and a great team player. He’s an outstanding run defender in addition to his pass rush production. He’s got great length and size, and great speed off the edge.”

And that combination of factors would have made him highly sought after, which led the Bengals to tag him at the risk of losing right tackle Andre Smith.

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12 Responses to “Bengals elect to keep D together with Michael Johnson tag”
  1. somtoiro says: Mar 1, 2013 2:53 PM

    Have you ever seen Michael Johnson? The dude is huge! If you haven’t seen a good picture of him look him up, weirdly skinny and big at the same time….

  2. beltlessbuckler says: Mar 1, 2013 2:58 PM

    Fisher Price package lives on!

  3. ka14hof says: Mar 1, 2013 3:00 PM

    somtoiro says:
    Mar 1, 2013 2:53 PM
    Have you ever seen Michael Johnson? The dude is huge! If you haven’t seen a good picture of him look him up, weirdly skinny and big at the same time….

    Agreed///////////

  4. shaggytoodle says: Mar 1, 2013 3:03 PM

    If I recall correctly he was projected as a 1st round talent. I don’t remember if it was a mediocre combine, off field issues, or injury, but he fell quite a bit.

    The Bengals appear to have got a steal on this guy, and that 09 draft class has helped them a lot in a really tough division.

  5. stevincinci says: Mar 1, 2013 3:08 PM

    Awesome. Never a doubt they would keep him.After next year, let’s not play this game and lock Geno Atkins and A.J Green up early.

  6. steelcityrapist says: Mar 1, 2013 3:20 PM

    We need to address offence in free agency. And defence in the draft.

  7. shaunypoo says: Mar 1, 2013 3:54 PM

    He’s all neck and torso with he-man arms, but he can play.

  8. bishopbengals says: Mar 1, 2013 4:03 PM

    Best move that we’ve made in free agency in quite some time.

  9. 303bengalguy says: Mar 1, 2013 4:08 PM

    Johnson is awesome. Pretty sure he slipped due to a perceived lack of effort at G Tech.

    Other teams loss is our gain. Love that they gave him the tag and I’m sure he’ll be just fine making $11M.

    The flurry of contract restructuring that’s been going on lately makes it almost a GOOD thing to be tagged. It’s guaranteed money and you’re getting paid the highest rates for your position.

    11M in one year (with the obvious potential to make more next year) > a hypothetical 3 year/20M deal that you could get cut prior to collecting the full 20M on… or restructured. No brainer to me. It’s a worthy gamble if you’re Mike Johnson.

  10. nflcinbengals says: Mar 1, 2013 6:06 PM

    Great move by a great up and coming franchise, unlike the other hopeless team in Ohio!

  11. bonniebengal says: Mar 1, 2013 9:23 PM

    Hopefully we sign Johnson long term. I’m not that fussed about Smith. I think he’s good, but not great. We can draft an OT. We have that extra second round pick, and a high one. Thanks Carson!

  12. mysterytonite says: Mar 2, 2013 11:49 AM

    Tagging MJ was the right move. Sadly, I think there will be money for only one of the DE’s (MJ, Dunlap). I think this is a prove it wasn’t a fluke year for MJ. If Dunlap outplays him this year, he will get the contract and MJ will walk. With Dre still unsinged and Geno, A.J., Dalton coming up next year, both guys aren’t probably aren’t going to be resigned.

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