The Cincinnati Bengals have until July 15 to reach an agreement for a long-term extension with defensive end Michael Johnson. Otherwise the fifth-year defensive end will be playing under a one-year franchise contract that will guarantee Johnson $11.175 million this season. What are the chances that the Bengals can seal Johnson prior to the deadline?
That answer lies somewhere among the existing deals currently struck amongst the top defensive ends in the NFL. Excluding Johnson's one-year deal, here's the top-ten salaries among all defensive ends heading into 2013.
|Mario Williams||Bills||2012||Six||$96 million||$16 million||$24.9 million|
|Julius Peppers||Bears||2010||Six||$84 million||$14 million||$19.9 million|
|Charles Johnson||Panthers||2011||Six||$76 million||$12.7 million||$32 million|
|Jared Allen||Vikings||2008||Six||$74.3 million||$12.2 million||$31 million|
|Chris Long||Rams||2012||Five||$60.3 million||$12.1 million||$36.8 million|
|DeMarcus Ware||Cowboys||2009||Seven||$78 million||$11.1 million||$25.6 million|
|Calais Campbell||Cardinals||2012||Five||$55 million||$11 million||$17 million|
|Tyson Jackson||Chiefs||2012||Two||$21.9 million||$10.985 million||$4 million|
|Anthony Spencer||Cowboys||2013||One||$10.627 million||-||-|
|Will Smith||Saints||2008||Six||$61.4 million||$10.2 million||$25 million|
Admittedly we don't see Johnson receiving the same kind of money that Williams and Peppers received, however Charles Johnson and Chris Long factor as a rough estimate, largely due to the similarity of their production after four seasons. (note: Charles Johnson played 16 fewer games).
|Michael Johnson||Charles Johnson||Chris Long|
Grouping Charles Johnson and Chris Long together (which agents and teams do to low-ball/high-ball negotiations) figures to be a contract averaging over well over $12 million (but less than $13 million) with over $30 million guaranteed on a deal that could go between five and six years.
Obviously the Bengals can structure a contract that limits the overall impact against the salary cap, especially early while adding limited consequence to restructure at a later date, provided that they're creative enough to include futures deals with Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and even Jermaine Gresham.