One of the biggest questions pondering the minds of Cincinnati Bengals fans this offseason has been whether the team will place the franchise tag on running back on Cedric Benson or cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Now, it appears neither player will be tagged and could hit the open market for free agency.
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, all signs pointing to the Bengals not using the franchise tag for the second-straight season–which would make Benson and Joseph unrestricted free agents. The deadline for teams to tag their players is Thursday and as Reedy indicates, the cost for running backs is expected to be between $9-$9.5 million while tags for cornerbacks are expected to be between $14-$15 million.
Obviously, the Bengals would love to sign both players–but that made be hard to do considering the value of both players. Benson has rushed for 2,362 yards with 13 touchdowns over the past two seasons–despite Cincinnati switching back to a pass-heavy offense in 2010. Newly hired offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has already expressed his plans for the Bengals to pound the ball more next season–which would certainly please Benson.
As for Joseph, he may be more difficult to sign considering Leon Hall’s contract will be up after the 2011 season–which means the Bengals may have to consider which cornerback they would rather have. Over the last few seasons, there have been times when Joseph and Hall were considered two of the top cornerback duos in the league–which means both players will be looking for a hefty long-term deal.
Dan Parzych is the Lead NFL Content Editor for RantSports.com/NFL, where he writes and edits NFL content for RantSports.com.
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