At this point in the offseason, there’s been plenty of talk surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals and how they may be the team to beat in the AFC North this season–especially when considering they have one of the top defenses in the league. The Bengals have already made headlines this week after giving Carlos Dunlap a surprise hefty six-year, $40 million extension, but the main question now is what the future holds for another defensive star on the team–Michael Johnson.
Everybody expected Cincinnati to focus on giving Johnson an extension before Monday’s deadline since he will be playing the 2013 season under the franchise tender, but that obviously isn’t going to be the case anymore. Instead, all signs point to Johnson parting ways with Cincinnati once he becomes a free agent next season–which could end up backfiring on their end.
Johnson has played a key factor in the success of the defense over the last two seasons as he’s managed to record 17.5 sacks–11.5 of which came during the 2012 season. The Bengals were willing to spend the $11.75 million on the franchise tender to keep him around this season and one would hope they would be willing to pay top dollar to make sure he sticks around for years to come, but the chances of that seem slim at this point.
There’s still plenty of time until Johnson becomes a free agent, but with the progress he’s made in his career so far, it would be a shame to see Johnson and the Bengals part ways next offseason.