August 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Bengals beat the Falcons 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Johnson Happy to be with Bengals, Despite the Franchise Tag

 

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson is currently slated to be a free agent in 2014 after the team placed the franchise tag on him this offseason after his breakout 2012 season, in which he recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks. That ultimately earned him a $11.175 million contract in 2013 via the tag, but a long-term deal will be much harder to get to, according to Joe Reedy:

Both sides have until July 15 to reach one or else Johnson will play on the one-year franchise tag, which is worth $11.175 million. Usually progress around the league on long-term contracts with players being tagged usually isn’t made until late June or early July, it is worth noting that the Bengals have not signed a player to an extension the season they’ve tagged him since Rudi Johnson in 2005.

 

Still, MJ isn’t worrying about it, nor is he looking to go “one-and-done” and cash in on Instead, he’s focused on working to improve and help his team win ballgames:

“I’m going to do the same thing I did last year,” he said of his career 11.5-sack season. “Just go out and work hard and that stuff will take care of itself. Work hard week in and week out and if this team wins, everything will be straight.

I was ready to come back last month,” he said of the start of offseason workouts. “It was really a challenge for me to stay focused. It was real hard to study. I wanted to be back with them.

I enjoy being here and as long as I’m here I’m going to give them everything I’ve got.”

 

Johnson, along with Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry and Domata Peko combined for 42 of the Bengals’ franchise-record 51 sacks last year (second-most in the NFL), and with all of them returning, there’s no reason to think there will be any drop-off as the defense looks to carry the team back into the postseason.

 

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