After notching a career high 11.5 sacks alongside the most dominant defensive line in football, defensive end Michael Johnson will be seeking a big payday when he hits free agency for the first time in his NFL career. The former third-round pick out of Georgia Tech has made just $2,613,020 in four seasons, and will likely triple that in his first year of his new deal, whether it be a long-term extension, or the franchise tag.
Bengals color analyst Dave Lapham said earlier this year that he fully expects Johnson to be back with the team in 2013, even if it means using the franchise tag on him, which would pay him in the area of $9 million.
Johnson recently said in an interview with The Selma times that he feels very loyal to the Bengals, and wants to remain in Cincinnati:
I would like to stay in Cincinnati. You can always find something wrong with your current position, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. This is the team that’s drafted me, they believed in me over everybody else, I’m embedded in the community up there, my teammates love me, the coaches and the owners. Everybody wants me to be there. I’m not against staying, whether that’s a long-term deal or if I was to get a franchise tag. However we can work it out, I would like to be a Cincinnati Bengal.