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The Cincinnati Bengals could still sign Michael Johnson to a long-term deal once Cliff Avril and Paul Kruger sign their respective deals, giving Cincinnati an idea on Johnson's value.
According to Aaron Wilson with Baltimore Sun, there's a "good chance" that Lions defensive end Cliff Avril will join the Indianapolis Colts, who are also reportedly targeting Paul Kruger. Avril has played five seasons with the Lions, generating 39.5 career quarterback sacks, including a 9.5-sack season on a franchise contract with the Lions last season.
Indianapolis released Dwight Freeney last month, who recently turned 33, developing a need for a pass rusher for a defense that includes Robert Mathis.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are $33 million under the cap, are also reportedly interested in Avril. According to multiple reports, the Lions have held "minimal discussions" with Avril, hinting that he won't return.
With the question on which defensive end the Colts sign, Brad Wells with Stampede Blue writes:
Personally, if Kruger goes to Cleveland, I'm cool with that. I'm on record wanting Avril over Kruger.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, what Kruger and Avril sign this week could hint at a possible value for Michael Johnson, who was franchised last week. According to ESPN's free agency tracker, Avril is the top defensive end for free agency with Johnson listed as No. 2.
If Avril signs a deal less than $10 million, it would be far less than the $11-plus million Cincinnati is paying Johnson for the franchise tag. Once these deals are signed and detailed, the Bengals could revisit Johnson's value and perhaps double their effort to sign him to something similar to Avril.