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Three of the last four players to sign a franchise tag with the Bengals have left the following season. That number could become four of the last four depending on the team's decision at kicker.
Now that the news has broken that the Bengals will use the franchise tag to keep Michael Johnson in Cincinnati for the 2013 season, we can look back at the last few players to get tagged by the team. Sadly, three of the last four left the following year, and that number could go from 75 percent to 100 percent depending on the team's decision on Mike Nugent when the new league year begins.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Johnson will be the highest payed player on the Bengals team in 2013, earning $11.175 million. The last four to sign a franchise tag were Justin Smith, Stacy Andrews, Shayne Graham and Mike Nugent. Smith, Andrews and Graham left the following season and Nugent could leave this year if the Bengals decide to stick with kicker Josh Brown or someone else.
Smith signed the franchise tag in 2007, which was worth $8.644 million. He left for the 49ers the following season. The team used their franchise tag worth $7.455 million in 2008 and left for the Eagles the following year. Graham signed his franchise tag worth $2.483 million in 2009 and left the following year, signing a contract with the Ravens.
The last player to stay in Cincinnati after signing the franchise tag was running back Rudi Johnson in 2005, but the Bengals and Johnson reached a long-term deal before the deadline and didn't leave Cincinnati until the 2008 season when he played one year in Detroit.
The Bengals obviously want to keep Johnson around for longer than the 2013 season and Johnson has reportedly expressed his desire to stay in Cincinnati as well. Hopefully the two sides can reach a long-term agreement before the July 15 deadline or after.