With the most cap room in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to make a splash in free agency season. However, the Bengals have some key free agents. They don’t have to worry about one of them anymore
The Bengals decided to designate their franchise tag on DE Michael Johnson. Johnson was a huge part of the Bengals pass rush in 2012, earning 11.5 sacks and 51 combined tackles. Next to RT Andre Smith, Johnson was the biggest free agent for the Bengals, so it was expected that Johnson would stay with the team. Johnson will make almost $11 million with the franchise tag.
Michael Johnson was drafted in the third round in the 2009 NFL Draft. It’s safe to say that a lot of teams regret not picking him up. Let’s not give all the credit to Johnson, though. His teammate Geno Atkins helps Johnson in a major way.
Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson were a great tandem of defensive linemen throughout the 2012 season. The two had 24 sacks between them, which is more than the Jacksonville Jaguars had as a team. Atkins usually draws double teams, which helps free Johnson on the edge. Johnson’s quickness and agility is a nightmare for opposing offensive linemen.
The Bengals’ attention must now turn to RT Andre Smith. They can no longer franchise the tackle, which could create a difficult situation for the Bengals. Smith will get a lot of interest out on the market, so the best technique the Bengals can use is to sign him to a long-term deal. He may be asking for more than they would like to get him, but Smith has been a very good tackle for the Bengals for many years now. It would be best for the Bengals to retain him.