The Bengals began the offseason as one of the richest teams in the league, by salary cap figures. Some thought they would be big spenders, finally grabbing a couple of big names in free agency. Well, they did add former Steeler James Harrison, but the other names weren't even close to being "big."
The rest of the money went towards re-signing their own. Headlined by Andre Smith and Michael Johnson, there were a lot of Bengals players with expiring contracts this offseason. That's where most of the money went. A whopping $11.175 million went to Michael Johnson's franchise tag. The team has until June 15 to negotiate a long term deal with Johnson.
You can also check out our free agent chart, for a concise summary of the team's offseason activity.
Here's how the Bengals remaining cap figures stack up against the rest of the league, according to the latest Top-51 report by the NFLPA (salary cap is calculated using the top 51 salaries on the team).
|Team||Salary Cap Room|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$19,094,270|
|Green Bay Packers||$13,533,765|
|New York Jets||$11,794,471|
Only nine teams remain in double figures (in millions). The league average is about $8.6 million in cap space.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, after deciding to match the New England Patriots' offer sheet for WR Emmanuel Sanders, find themselves in dire cap trouble. They are the only team with less than $1 million remaining in cap space.
It feels odd to dictate Hobsonian caution again, but the team is expected to carry over around $10 million cap space for next year, and they like to have extra space during the year for unexpected injuries and signings. Additionally, about $5 million will be used for signing this year's draft picks. Essentially, don't expect the Bengals to wield their cap space boldly. The only non-trivial signing they might still make is Thomas Howard. Of course, the extensions of Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, and Carlos Dunlap are looming on the horizon as well.