Bengals News

4 More Surprise Cuts the Bengals Could Make

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CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 29: Marvin Lewis the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals watches the action in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 29: Marvin Lewis the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals watches the action in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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 Michael Johnson

The news of Chris Baker’s release may have been most crucial for Johnson. Johnson has long been a possible cap casualty for the Bengals this season, but Baker’s departure may mean Johnson can stay for this season. Johnson has the versatility, the veteran experience, and the leadership that Baker just could not offer. Primarily a defensive end, Johnson may be able to play some defensive tackle in pass rush packages due to his size and physicality.

While Johnson offers some great on and off-field qualities, he may still be at risk of getting cut. He’s clearly past his prime, and the Bengals have a great core of pass rushers waiting in the wings. Jordan Willis is entering his second season, and profiles as a similar big-bodied defensive end to Johnson. Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard are both excellent pass rushers, and can definitely play opposite Carlos Dunlap along this line.

Johnson also has a very large contract relative to his productivity. He will make just over $6 million this season, which could be avoided by cutting him before the season. The Bengals could get off over $4 million in cap space by releasing him. While he offers a lot to this team, Johnson may still get cut in favor of a cheaper option off of free agency.

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