A couple of random thoughts on our final Sunday of the offseason.
Dunlap's contract favors more extensions.
Carlos Dunlap's five-year extension worth $40 million includes $11.7 million in guarantees, which is a combination of his $8 million signing bonus and a $3.7 million reporting bonus that he'll earn when he reports to training camp. Dunlap will earn another $5.7 million with a 2014 roster bonus (March 31, 2014), effectively guaranteeing over $17 million. After adding $6.907 against the cap this year, Dunlap's highest cap number will reach $8.6 million in 2014, with $4.9 million ('15), $5.95 million ('16), $6.95 million ('17), and $7 million ('18) during the succeeding years.
Based on the aforementioned breakdown, Dunlap's cap number is at its highest during the first and final two years respectively. In fact, if we combined the total cap value of Dunlap's contract, 38.5 percent of it will impact Cincinnati's salary cap during his first two seasons. An opening exists in '15 and '16 with smaller cap values that would easily pave the way for an extension with A.J Green and Andy Dalton. Neither are allowed to negotiate an extension until after the season and both contracts are set to expire after 2014. Dunlap's cap number this year is insignificant in this context. Because even if Atkins signs a long-term extension this year, which would benefit the Bengals who prefer adding significant roster and reporting bonuses as early as possible, there's plenty of room to manage both cap numbers.
What happens later when cap values start increasing across the board? Figure that by 2017 and even 2018, contracts will be reworked, restructured, and even extended. So what we mathmatically develop today probably becomes irrelvant before those discussions begin. Think about it. We're talking five years from now. Things can change. Careers taking unexpected turns, durability questions turn into full-blown concerns. Who knows. It's a long time away and Cincinnati's window is wide-open today.
Contract extension for Geno Atkins
With the July 15 deadline having come and gone, the Cincinnati Bengals are no longer allowed to negotiate a contract extension with defensive end Michael Johnson, who was given the franchise tag in early March. With Carlos Dunlap supposedly taking the contract that Cincinnati offered Johnson, and with league rules preventing negotiations with A.J. Green and Andy Dalton until after the 2013 season, the Bengals are now completely focused on signing Geno Atkins to a long-term deal.
If a deal happens, it's extremely likely that it will happen around the final preseason game. In 2011, from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, the Bengals signed Leon Hall, Andrew Whitworth, and Kyle Cook to extensions -- all of whom were already signed for that season. The difference with Carlos Dunlap was how closely it related to Michael Johnson. Once Johnson and his representatives refused that deal, the Bengals turned around and offered it to Dunlap, who inked the deal.
It's a safe assumption that if Atkins and the Bengals are unable to agree on a long-term extension, Atkins will be franchised for 2014. So unless something completely unforeseen happens from now until next year, Atkins will be playing for the Bengals in 2014. However, don't expect Johnson to be franchised a second-time if Atkins is sealed long-term. When a player is franchised a second time in as many years, there's a 125 percent increase from the previous year's salary, giving Johnson a one-year $13.5 million contract. Not going to happen.
Hard Knocks captures first pitch
Speaking of Geno Atkins, the all-Pro defensive tackle threw out the first pitch during Saturday's Reds game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was followed by the Hard Knocks crew, which we figure we'll see in episode one that's set to premiere on Aug. 6 at 10 p.m. (ET).