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Dunlap deal sets stage for Johnson departure

Michael Johnson AP

The Bengals took a page from their AFC North neighbors the Steelers yesterday, signing defensive end Carlos Dunlap to an extension while leaving Michael Johnson to work this year under the franchise tag.

So with Dunlap playing the role of Steelers wideout Antonio Brown last season by getting an unexpected extension, that leaves Johnson to play out the year before getting a chance to leave in free agency, Mike Wallace-style.

According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Dunlap deal coupled with other business the Bengals have to take care of makes it likely this is Johnson’s final season with the Bengals.

The Bengals want to try to extend defensive tackle Geno Atkins’ deal (otherwise they’d have to franchise him next year), and they’re a year away from their first chance to extend quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.

While the jury’s still out on whether Dalton deserves big money, Atkins and Green should get paid at the top of their respective positions, and that might leave Johnson looking elsewhere for his, after he cashes his guaranteed $11.175 million this year.

Using a second-round pick on defensive end Margus Hunt this year also set the stage for his eventual departure, giving them a chance to balance the books with some cheap labor, and keep the position stocked for the future.

Johnson had 11.5 sacks last year, and would hit the market at 27 years old, so he’d have a chance to do better than some of the veteran pass-rushers that found a soft market this offseason.

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13 Responses to “Dunlap deal sets stage for Johnson departure”
  1. Kaz says: Jul 16, 2013 9:19 AM

    The extension wasn’t “unexpected”. You guys even reported the Bengals looked to get deals done with their DL. And if MJ couldn’t get done they’d move on to Atkins and Dunlap.

  2. jmble says: Jul 16, 2013 9:19 AM

    If I had to pick one guy out of the group to lose, Johnson would be the one. With Dunlap in the fold and the assumption that Atkins will be signed, I think they are keeping the two with the most upside of the three. Now they get one year of all three including Michael Johnson playing for a new contract with somebody. This is the time where it’s going to show why the Bengals needed to save that cap space coming into this offseason. AJ Green is going to get whatever he wants. As for Dalton, I think this year will tell whether he is going to break the bank or whether the Bengals will be looking for a new QB going into Dalton’s contract year.

  3. joetoronto says: Jul 16, 2013 9:26 AM

    “While the jury’s still out on whether Dalton deserves big money….”

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to see for some people, this guy is a dud.

    He’s as weak upstairs as his arm is.

  4. kayakattack says: Jul 16, 2013 9:40 AM

    Johnson would make a nice LEO

  5. markcarroll85 says: Jul 16, 2013 9:57 AM

    Yeah I don’t see how this was unexpected. As a Bengal fan I’ve been expecting this for a while and most people with knowledge has. It’s been reported on here before that this was probably going to happen.

  6. bengalguy says: Jul 16, 2013 10:01 AM

    Hey Joe, stop yer hatin’, we ain’t the Raidahs. Get over the whole Palmer thing….my God, let it go!
    As for Dalton he is SOLID AS A ROCK upstairs, and the whole arm thing is overblown! He’s taken Cincinnati to 2 straight playoffs and has a All-Pro game under his belt! Albeit, there is plenty left to do, but the Dude is tough, he’s a leader, (something the strong armed C.Palmer NEVER was) has great anticipation with the football & flat out wins football games!!!! WINNER!
    Now by no means would I even THINK he’s ELITE, but as far as skill-set goes, put him in with Eli, Romo, Wilson & Rivers!!!

  7. markcarroll85 says: Jul 16, 2013 10:02 AM

    Joe Toronto your crazy. I am a bengals fan but I’m a realist too. Dalton is very smart as a qb. He doesn’t have the strongest arm but don’t forget he overthrew AJ on a bomb that would have sealed the win in Texas this past season.

  8. honkeyt says: Jul 16, 2013 10:24 AM

    The Raiders are going to have a field day next year with all of the cap space they will have. If Johnson keeps producing expect them to go after he and H. Melton from the Bears. Having $70 Million in cap space it is going to hard to beat out the Raiders in FA next season.

  9. joetoronto says: Jul 16, 2013 10:26 AM

    markcarroll85 says:
    Jul 16, 2013 10:02 AM
    Joe Toronto your crazy. I am a bengals fan but I’m a realist too. Dalton is very smart as a qb. He doesn’t have the strongest arm but don’t forget he overthrew AJ on a bomb that would have sealed the win in Texas this past season.
    ***************************************************
    You don’t even realize that you’re actually saying the same thing.

    A QB with a weak arm puts everything he has into the throw, losing accuracy.

  10. broncosnative says: Jul 16, 2013 12:26 PM

    You bengals fans should be happy to ave dalton as your QB. First two years he’s taken the team to the playoffs, Palmer had the same amount in 05 and 09 and he only guided the team to 2 winning seasons and an 8-8 season. I don’t know much about their WR core but outside of green, who is the number two guy. Dalton has shown he could deliver the ball where it needs to go, give him time and he could develop to something special

  11. codiki says: Jul 16, 2013 12:44 PM

    Joe you are a nut seriously! Dalton was a winner in college and went to TCU I am sorry but I doubt you could even get admitted to TCU. Anyways it is smarter to pay him now and not wait like the Ravens did and it cost the Bengals big $$$. If he fails you cut him and move on. As for the Johnson deal he has been a 1 year wonder as of right now so the tag is a perfect fit. The best part is if they sign Geno now they can tag MJ again next year of they want to keep him for a SB run. If there is a piece they are missing they can tag and then trade him too. This was the best move they could have made and it is front loaded so they will be able to load up Geno and AJ on the back end to spread the money out. Good move Bengals! If MJ dominates again he will get paid either here or we will get draft picks if he leaves. Lets not forget MJ was on the roster bubble going 2 years ago…..when Geno showed up. Geno makes them all better and is the catalyst to the whole unit. Just look at the Ravens Ngata showed up and they are a force each week he is in there. Back up the brinks truck for Geno he deserves it and will keep on paying you back with performance.

  12. bengalguy says: Jul 16, 2013 1:45 PM

    The Cincinnati Bengals…..the team you love to hate because they do things you wish your team would/could do!!!!

  13. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 16, 2013 1:52 PM

    I liked both of these guys very much coming out of the draft. But unfortunately Johnson is going to be too expensive for my team that is in cap hell for the next couple years.

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