Before free agency began in February, the Cincinnati Bengals decided to place their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson, effectively paying him $11.175 million in 2013 or giving the Bengals a few more months to work out a long-term contract with the player. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the cut off time to make this deal with Johnson was at 4 p.m. ET yesterday and as they were unable to come to a long term deal with Johnson, the player will now play under his franchise tag.
Although the Bengals were unable to come to a long-term deal with Johnson, they were able to sign defensive end Carlos Dunlap to a six-year $40 million contract. Dunlap had one more year left on his four year rookie contract and in 2013 he stood to earn $630, 000. Under the terms of the new deal, Dunlap stands to earn $20 million over the first two years of the contract, which for those of you who are numerically challenged is a bit of an increase.
The Bengals are obviously expecting big things from the three-year player, who came to the Bengals in 2010 and put up a team high 9.5 sacks. After an injury plagued disappointing 4.5 sacks 2011 season, Dunlap showed that he is on his way back up again by producing six sacks in 2012.
$20 million is a lot for a man who has produced 20 sacks in three seasons, but having said that, what he has lacked in explosiveness in the last two seasons, he has more than made up for in consistency (when on the field.) Last season alone he managed to put up 40 combined tackles and four forced fumbles, as well as three fumbles recovered. He also showed that although he was unable to get as many sacks as Johnson last season, he was still able to produce more QB hits, as well as pressures, than starting DE Johnson.
Dunlap has seen a steady increase in snaps over the last two years and even though he has only been a starter for two games, this stat normally means very little when it comes to the DE position. Expect Dunlap to pick up even more snaps over 2013, as he is moved in to likely replace franchise player Johnson.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Be sure to follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88