Report: Long-term deal for Michael Johnson unlikely


We’re a week away from the deadline to sign franchise players to long-term deals before the end of the 2013 season and things aren’t looking good on that front for one of the players tagged earlier this offseason.

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that “all is silent” regarding contract talks between the Bengals and defensive end Michael Johnson and that “indications” are that he’ll play out the season under the tag. If that’s the case, Johnson will make $11.175 million and head to free agency again after the season.

Johnson might not have much better luck getting a contract from the Bengals at that point. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins has an expiring contract and will likely be the top priority, be it for a contract or the franchise tag, while defensive end Carlos Dunlap is also entering the final year of his deal. Something will likely have to give and it could be Johnson if he winds up commanding top dollar off another big year rushing the passer.

None of the eight players given franchise tags this offseason have agreed to long-term deals with their teams. We’ll find out in the next few days if the deadline spurs anyone to action.

17 responses to “Report: Long-term deal for Michael Johnson unlikely

  1. As a Bengals fan I’d hate to see MJ93 go but this news isn’t really that big of a surprise. It seems like Dunlap would be the more likely one to stay at the end of all this. The market for pass rushers being what it is, MJ’s average salary will probably be less than the $11.175m tag (though he’ll obviously get big bonus money wherever he signs).

    Atkins has to be top priority next off-season that’s for sure!


  2. I’m a Steelers fan living in Cincinnati, and I just don’t understand the Bengals front office.

    Right now they have a playoff-caliber team, but not a Superbowl caliber team. They also have something like 40mil in cap space.

    Why not use that money to extend some of their young studs like Johnson and Geno… and grab some mid-level free agents to try and put them over the top?

    Guys like Anquan Boldin, Jacoby Jones, Matt Birk, Bryany McKinnie were huge in the Ravens run. The Bengals have nobody to take heat off of AJ Green (and help Dalton), a guy like Greg Jennings would’ve really improved that team.

  3. Of course the Bengals are going to be cheap. Look at the owner.

    Don’t worry. Paul Allen and Pete Carroll will pay you what you’re worth and you’ll get to play for a contender.

  4. Btw, I don’t see them letting go of MJ as strictly a “cheap” move. If he’s not bitter it’s not impossible they’ll sign him on the open market. Right now $11+m for a pash rushing DE is way high, especially with the big investments on D-line that they are basically mandatory (Atkins). There’s only so much cap space to go around and I believe it will be taken up with the extensions of the young players that they have coming up.


  5. I love it when people comment on subjects they know nothing about. MJ has been a good pass rusher, not a great one. 11 sacks is a nice total for one year, his previous years were average for a starting DE. He had 3 sacks against Washington, whose top two left tackles were hurt. He had a field day against a practice squad guy.

    Signing him to a long term deal prohibits the team from signing their core players who will be due new contracts soon, including Green, Atkins, Dunlap, Dalton. Not to mention they have Margus Hunt, who could stop in for him after this year, and Wallace Gilberry is on for 3 more years, 6.5 sacks in split time last season.

    Smart teams know which players are worth big contracts and which ones are not. The Bengals have only recently gotten smart. I hope they continue that way of thinking.

  6. I’m a Bengals fan, so keep that in mind as I question the job they are doing….

    I wonder if Mike Brown thinks he has gotten so good at drafting, that he doesn’t need to resign his good players. Or if he has gotten burned so many times that he’s afraid to. I’m ok with letting Mike Johnson walk after this year IF they’re planning on something for Dunlap and Atkins (I’d rather have Johnson, but I’ll be ok if they keep either him or Dunlap). They are sitting on a TON of cap space, they could give Atkins a big extension and essentially apply most of it to 2013, which wouldn’t screw up money for any other year.

    The Bengals recent success with young players while staying under the cap is admirable, but if they let all of these guys walk or hit free agency at the same time we’re going to be watching AJ Green and Geno Atkins wearing something other than Bengals colors soon. You’ll hear Mike Brown say “well we couldn’t keep both AJ and Geno with big deals at the same time” because he’ll be hoping we all forgot that for 2 or 3 years he sat on $40Mil cap space instead of being proactive.

  7. quizguy66 says: Jul 8, 2013 1:44 PM
    There’s only so much cap space to go around and I believe it will be taken up with the extensions of the young players that they have coming up.

    Don’t forget though that year after year they are letting cap space go to waste. If it’s that Mike Brown wants to pocket the money left over, ok that’s his right as a business man. But don’t mention cap space limitations when they could have gotten these deals done over the past few years and still be sitting here today with the same ton of cap space.

  8. BTW, steelbydesign, you say the Bengals have no one to take heat off of Green? Pro Bowler Jermaine Gresham? First Rounder Tyler Eifert? Mo Sanu? Andrew Hawkins? The best receiving RB in the draft Giovani Bernard?

    Besides I’m not sure Green is bothered by ‘heat’ considering he scored a TD in 9 straight games last year without that help you say he didn’t have. You’re confusing him with that other 85 idiot who couldn’t beat a double team if he had to.

    Pay attention.

  9. With him playing out his tag year, and with James Harrison rushing off the same edge, I expect Johnson to put up huge numbers this season.

  10. I have heard Bengals fans for years complain how cheap their owner is.

    Now, you have a VERY GOOD team with the potential to be great.

    If your owner wants to be great, he is going to have to open up the check book, and get ALL, or at least MOST of these players signed to long term deals.

    With the available cap space, it should be used to get the key players signed to long term extensions. With the money left, you need to bring in the rest of the pieces of the puzzle.

    IF that happens, you will be close to the salary cap.

    Now, the question is, does Mike Brown value a successful team more than he values making that extra $40 million per year?

    Dalton is going to take up $10-12 million per year, Green is likely going to cost another $10 million. Count Gino for $8 million per year and that leaves you with about $10 million for other players.

    The long term successful teams, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New England, Green Bay are always near the cap. That is what has to happen in Cincy if they want to be great.

    If the owner CHOOSES to be cheap, the product on the field WILL suffer.

    Good luck Bengals fans.

  11. Hey Seahag fans. In about 2 years your gonna be in cap hell… as far as “signing MJ93 so he can play for a contender???” The only thing your contending for is 2nd in the NFC WEST!!!!
    WHO DEY!!!!

  12. Bengals have nowhere near 40mm in cap space. Oh lord get your facts together.

  13. mzitt18. Don’t waste your time with guys like steelbydesign. He’s just pissed off because the Stealers were like $3 under the cap and scored the big free agent coup in OT Guy Whimper. He doesn’t know we have bigger soon to be free agents like Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap not to mention A.J. Green and Andy Dalton’s contracts can be renegotiated next year. He’s probably still butt hurt that James Harrison took less money to sign with the Bengals than what the Stealers offered! It’s all good though. Big Jen will have a hard time making it through the season with that joke of a offensive line in $hittsburgh. Thank god we traded down and passed on DeCastro and took Zeitler instead.

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