Bengals Bacon: Contract Numbers, Pat Sims, ESPN

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

We have a wide-ranging look at things during today's Bengals Bacon (sigh)

With the Cincinnati Bengals applying the franchise tag on Friday to Michael Johnson, it shifted the team's balanced salary breakdown heading into 2013. Currently Cincinnati has $37.6 million dished out on offense for next season and $48.5 million on defense. A quick look at the team's top-five cap values before entering free agency.

Michael Johnson DE $11.175 Million
Leon Hall CB $8.4 Million
Andrew Whitworth OT $6.75 Million
A.J. Green WR $5.369 Million
Domata Peko DT $5.1 Million

Let's take a look further down the road, listing the top-ten cap numbers in 2014:

Leon Hall CB $8.7 Million
A.J. Green WR $6.264 Million
Andrew Whitworth OT $6.2 Million
Reggie Nelson DB $4.475 Million
Domata Peko DT $4.165 Million
Jermaine Gresham TE $3.557 Million
Travelle Wharton OG $3.375 Million
Kyle Cook C $3.340 Million
BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB $3 Million
Dre Kirkpatrick CB $2.351 Million

Obviously neither chart factors probable contract extensions with players like Geno Atkins, Green, Johnson and Carlos Dunlap.

+ Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer conjectures that if Pat Sims isn't signed to a long-term deal this offseason, the sixth-year defensive tackle won't return in 2013. There was very little interest in Sims last year during free agency before Cincinnati's former third-round pick returned on a one-year deal worth a maximum $1.44 million.

With Geno Atkins and Domata Peko signed into 2013, it's an understandable perspective, allowing younger defensive tackles in Devon Still and Brandon Thompson to get some work and ultimately prove their worth.

+ Move over ESPN, you have competition... again. Despite NBC Sports and CBS Sports Network struggling to capture viewers, Fox Sports is jumping into the national television sports picture with a channel expected to premiere in August called Fox Sports 1.

"The channel will carry Nascar races, Major League Baseball games, college basketball and football, soccer and U.F.C. fights," writes the New York Times. "It will also broadcast studio shows, including one that is to be hosted by Regis Philbin, a celebrated Notre Dame fan."

Trivia for Time Warner subscribers in Cincinnati: Without looking it up, what channel is the CBS Sports Network in HD?

+ Many of you may remember C. Trent Rosecrans, who used to cover the Bengals beat for the now defunct cnati.com, which covered all sports in Cincinnati. C. Trent is returning to the Cincinnati Enquirer this year to backup John Fay on the Reds beat. You can follow C. Trent on Twitter.

+ While the New England Patriots and Wes Welker are reportedly talking, the team avoided the franchise tag on the wide receiver (or anyone else for that matter). The cost to franchise Welker would have reached $11.5 million, nearly a million more than the typical franchise tag because New England applied the tag on Welker last year. Players franchised in back-to-back seasons receive a 120 percent bump from their previous salary the second time. A third straight year and that number reaches 144 percent of their most recent contract.

+ Only eight teams decided to use their franchise tag; Bengals being the only team in the AFC North.

+ At the other end of the United States, 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss isn't expected to return to San Francisco, though Mike Freeman with CBSSports.com wrote that Moss wants to play one more year on a competitive team, though some of his former teammates aren't sure.

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