Before the Cincinnati Bengals applied the franchise tag on Michael Johnson last year, the New England Patriots viewed him as one of their top targets for free agency last year, according to Greg Bedard, who wrote for the Boston Globe at the time. It's doubtful that Johnson will be franchised again and a long-term deal between Johnson and the Cincinnati Bengals appears to be unlikely.
Could the Patriots have interest this year?
Doug Kyed with NESN idetifies one of the Patriots team needs with a pass rusher.
The Patriots had interest in Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson last year before he was franchised. He could also play end or tackle depending on the down and distance. Johnson’s sacks decreased in 2013, so his price tag should be lower going into 2014.
Johnson generated 11.5 sacks in 2012 but followed up with an eight-sack decrease in 2013, posting only 3.5. However, Johnson generated an interception for a third-consecutive year, posted a career-high two forced fumbles and nine passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.