How do we keep this very good, very young defensive line together in the future. For starters there is no way I give MICHAEL JOHNSON a big deal off of one good season. JOHNSON at times played like a beast this year and he deserves a pay raise. The team should slap the franchise tag on MICHAEL JOHNSON and see if he can match or put up better numbers than in 2012. MIKE BROWN made the mistake of giving Robert Geathers a new deal off of one good year and Geathers has not gotten close to matching those numbers ever since. To Geathers defense he is very solid in run defense but 4-3 DE are paid to sack the QB and I just hope that MIKE BROWN learned from that mistake and makes JOHNSON put up back to back seasons of playing good football. To be honest I did not think JOHNSON had this much talent in him. Johnson was benched in the middle of the year last year in favor of Frostee Rucker. Franchising MJ takes about 10-11 million off the BENGALS league leading 50-55 million in expected cap space this spring. There were rumors on the web that ANDRE SMITH and the BENGALS were getting close to a deal but the whole airport arrest bs probably made the BENGALS pump their brakes to wait and see how that works it way through the judicial system. Regardless I still believe they will get a deal done before the draft with SMITH and franchise MJ. Letting ANDRE SMITH go would really hurt this offense and team overall.
The big question is what it's going to cost to re-up GENO ATKINS and CARLOS DUNLAP. If the BENGALS let DUNLAP hit the open market would some team come in and over pay simply because of the upside a healthy CARLOS DUNLAP brings to any defense. This man is 6'6 290 and runs like a linebacker. Re-signing DUNLAP in the future is a must. I hate seeing talent leave the BENGALS to go on to another team and make pro-bowls like a Joseph w/ Houston or even a Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks with the SB bound 49ers team. The BENGALS never go after premier talent on the open market so its painful to watch home grown talent leave.
GENO ATKINS is the best DT in the game and if I am him I am not signing for less than 11-12 million dollars a year with at least a 30 million dollar signing bonus. ATKINS at times can dominate a game with his mix of speed and surprising power. If the BENGALS had better LB behind this DL this defense could once again have a chance of getting back into the top 2-3. Five years at 60 million is about what ATKINS deserves in my opinion.
There is no way the BENGALS can keep all 4 together, it would almost be impossible. I love PEKO even though he is only a 2 down player but to be honest I would rather have Pat Simms over PEKO because as a 2 down run stopper it's very clear that big Pat is better but PEKO is the better leader.
I will close with this draft related ?
If Manti Te'o is there at 21 how would BENGAL NATION react. I am a little bias because I am a huge FIGHTING IRISH fan and I have watched this young man play all 4 seasons for NOTRE DAME and I love the kid but he is getting killed in the press and during the draft process it's all about momentum. Millions can be made or less very quickly. Earlier Mock Drafts had Te'o in the top 5-10 even though he does not have top 5-10 talent. Te'o lost some weight before the season so that he could be faster on the field and get better in pass defense and it worked with him having 7 int in 2012 when he had ZERO in his 1st 3 years. The BENGALS have a huge need at LB and I would be very surprised if any GM took Te'o before pick 20 regardless of talent because no matter if it turns out the kid was tricked and it's looking like he was, this kid is going to get killed in every away game, The team that drafts Manti Te'o this year will have a lot of press following his every move not to mention all the questions his team mates will have to answer. My question is "is the talent that he brings worth the headache"
If I had a vote it would be..........YES!!