Michael Johnson Signs Franchise Tender

Andy Lyons

Defensive end Michael Johnson has signed his franchise tender, according to Joe Reedy.

Defensive end Michael Johnson signed his franchise tender on Friday, which guarantees he'll make $11.1 million for the 2013 season before he's an unrestricted free agent again in 2014, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy.

"We are glad to have this accomplished and to know we’ll have Mike with us for all of our offseason work," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "As I’ve said, making Mike our franchise player was part of the process to keep our defense together. It’s been a good defense the last couple years and with the right work it can be better. Mike has worked hard to improve himself every year during his time as a Bengal, and we have every reason to believe he will continue to grow as a leader and productive player. And we will stay in contact with Mike’s representatives about possibly doing a longer deal."

Johnson is coming off his best season in which he sacked the opposing quarterback 11.5 times, the second most on the team besides defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Johnson, along with right tackle Andre Smith, were considered the Bengals' top free agents to re-sign heading into the 2013 season.

Now that Johnson has signed his franchise tender, he and the Bengals can still work towards a long-term contract, which is something that both sides stated they wanted to do. The deadline to come to a long-term deal is July 15. If the two sides can't come to an agreement by then, the one-year tag remains in effect.

In his four years with the Bengals, Johnson has made 146 tackles, 23 sacks and has picked off one pass.

“This guy has come up in our system, he plays about 85 percent of our snaps, and he’s the kind of guy we love to have around,” said defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. “He’s hard-working and a great team player. He’s an outstanding run defender in addition to his pass rush production. He’s got great length and size, and great speed off the edge.”

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