On Tuesday, the Denver Broncos re-signed their Pro Bowl cornerback, Champ Bailey to a four-year contract worth $43 million. While this doesn't matter to most things Bengals related, it could serve as a "measuring stick" for Johnathan Joseph when (and if) he negotiates a contract with the Bengals, or with another team if he hits free agency. Since the deadline for the Bengals to tag Joseph is Thursday, free agency is likely where Joseph will be headed.
The timing of Bailey's deal helps Joseph more than it helps the Bengals. Joseph, like Bailey, is not in the category of Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha but fits somewhere in that next tier.
If Joseph and Bailey are considered to be on the same tier, Joseph could expect, and ask for a similar contract, especially because he's still young (seven years younger than Bailey). If Bailey is worth the $11 million per year that he's going to receive under his new contract, Walker believes that Joseph can reasonably expect $8-10 million per year.
The main question is this: will the Bengals be willing to pay $8-10 million to keep Joseph in stripes? The Bengals, being the bargain shoppers that they are, may find that they'd rather let Joseph sign elsewhere and draft a new cornerback or allow Adam Jones, who's signed through the 2011 season, to take Joseph's place.
Joseph has nine interceptions over the past two years compared to Bailey's five. Considering that his best days could still be ahead of him, if the Bengals don't offer Joseph something close to what he asks for, or deserves, you better believe that there are definitely teams around the NFL that will.