If the Cincinnati Bengals are unable to sign Michael Johnson to a long-term deal by 4 p.m (ET) on Monday, Johnson will play under the franchise tag with a guaranteed $11.175 one-year salary. Over the past month, multiple reports indicated that a deal wasn't likely.
However, the Bengals and Johnson's representatives are talking, according to Albert Breer with the NFL Network.
There's been communication between the Bengals and Michael Johnson's people on a long-term deal today. We'll see if it amounts to anything.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 15, 2013
Based on Jason La Canfora's report that was published on June 20, the gap between what the Bengals believe is market value is significant.
There doesn't seem to be much optimism at all regarding this situation. They haven't been able to agree on a market value and the Bengals are going to have to prepare to franchise all-world defensive tackle Geno Atkins come 2014 given the chasm that exists in their early negotiations with him. There is some skepticism about how deep the Bengals will dig to keep talent, and with three defensive linemen needing to get paid in the next nine to 10 months...
And unless they're feeling more comfortable with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, we highly doubt a deal is struck by the deadline.