Report: Michael Johnson-Bengals extension unlikely


The Cincinnati Bengals have not signed a franchise-tagged player to a contract extension since giving running back Rudi Johnson one in 2005. That streak figures to continue for at least another year.

The deadline to sign franchise players to long-term deals is just one week away, and "all indications" are that the Bengals will allow defensive end Michael Johnson to play under the tag this season, according to Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

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Johnson's $11.175 million salary would set the franchise's unofficial record for highest one-year base in a single season.

Three of the last four players tagged by the Bengals (Justin Smith, Stacy Andrews and Shayne Graham) left via free agency the following season. Johnson is on track to follow in their footsteps.

While the Bengals have the salary-cap space to accommodate Johnson's bloated salary on the heels of his 11.5-sack breakout season, their priorities will change next year with first-team All-Pro Geno Atkins slated for free agency. If the team is willing to commit big money to only one of the two defensive stars, Atkins is the easy call.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.