A lot of people consider Johnson to be the better pick at DE if we have to chooses between them. However, consider this: Cincinnati just placed the franchise tag on Johnson for the coming season. That means he’ll make over 11 million this year.
Long story short, he’s not going to be very happy with a downgrade of more than a couple million, and he’s going to want the contract to be long-term.
Meanwhile, Dunlap is making less than a million this year. Yes, you read that correctly. Less than a million.
Now let’s do a little bit of comparing with the stats.
Dunlap has been in the league for three years, compared to Johnson’s four years.
In that time, Dunlap has accumulated 20 sacks, averaging almost 7 a year. Johnson has brought down the quarterback 23 times, but in more year’s time, averaging almost 6 sacks a year – however, those numbers are after a career year in 2012.
Johnson has totaled 94 tackles in four years, averaging 23.5 per year. Dunlap has had 65 tackles, averaging about 22 per year.
Dunlap has had three more forced fumbles than Johnson as well.
In short, although Johnson had the better year in 2012, they have both been very successful in their careers. Now get this this: Dunlap is also two years younger than Johnson.
The averages are quite close, but when you take a look at the contract sizes, Dunlap will give the Bengals more years long term, and is ultimately the better value-pick.