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Figuring a rough estimate for a Michael Johnson contract extension

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The Cincinnati Bengals slapped the franchise tag on Michael Johnson and they have until July 15 to reach an agreement for a long-term extension. We take a look at current deals in the NFL to see where Johnson could fit in.

Andy Lyons

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
Tackles 146 114 149
Sacks 23.0 21.5 30.5
Forced Fumbles 1 4 5
Interceptions 2 0 0
Passes Deflected 16 11 6

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.