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. 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.
The latest report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is that the Bengals aren’t having any luck in working out a deal with Johnson:
There doesn’t seem to be much optimism at all regarding this situation. They haven’t been able to agree on a market value and the Bengals are going to have to prepare to franchise all-world defensive tackle Geno Atkins come 2014 given the chasm that exists in their early negotiations with him. There is some skepticism about how deep the Bengals will dig to keep talent, and with three defensive linemen needing to get paid in the next nine to 10 months, Johnson looks like a goner unless the Bengals step up significantly between now and mid-July.
While playing under a one-year deal with no long-term security can weigh on an NFL player, Johnson isn’t worrying about it, nor is he looking to go “one-and-done” and cash in on his after his breakout 2012 season, in which he recorded a career-high 11.5 sacks.
Instead, he’s focused on working to improve and help the Bengals take the next step in 2013:
“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 enjoy being here and as long as I’m here I’m going to give them everything I’ve got.”
One thing is for sure this year: Bengals fans need to enjoy every moment they get to watch MJ in stripes, because there may not be many more of them in the future.