ICYMI: Will Bengals Keep Carlos Dunlap or Michael Johnson? The Analysis

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December 30, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor (2) tries to get away from Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati won the game 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports


This will likely be the last year that defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson will both be in Bengals stripes. Both players are slated to be free agents in 2014, and it’s unlikely the team will have the salary cap space to re-sign them both.They’ve combined for 40 sacks since 2010, and have the potential to become the best DE tandem in the NFL with All-Pro Geno Atkins drawing so much attention on the interior.

But if both players do live up to their potential, they’ll both be commanding contracts in the area of 3-4 years for 20-30$ million apiece. That’s anywhere from a 20-30$ million cap hit next year for just the DEs, and that’s too much to invest in one position.

So if Cincinnati can only keep one of them, do they go with Dunlap or Johnson? Well, the answer may surprise you. Or, at least my answer might. Everyone has their own opinion.

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