The Bengals appear poised to say goodbye to defensive end Michael Johnson.
Johnson played the 2013 season on the one-year franchise tender of $11.175 million, but he’s unlikely to return in 2014, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
If the Bengals want to keep Johnson for another year on the franchise tag, they’d have to guarantee him a salary of $13.4 million for 2014. That would be an awful lot of salary cap space to devote to the defensive line after the Bengals have already given defensive tackle Geno Atkins a five-year $55 million contract and defensive end Carlos Dunlap a six-year, $40 million contract.
The 27-year-old Johnson is a good defensive end with plenty of good years left in him, but his sack total declined from 11.5 in 2012 to 3.5 in 2013, and it sounds like the Bengals will decide that they don’t want to spend the kind of money it would take to keep him around for 2014.