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La Canfora: Michael Johnson is a "goner unless the Bengals" step up

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Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson is playing on the franchise tag. As both sides work on a contract extension, there's a huge discrepancy in market value between the team and player.

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Again, it's not a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Bengals will be able to re-sign defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. In fact, if you're looking through your crystal ball, we'd understand if you shot out of your chair to hide in the nearest corner.

Jason La Canfora with CBSSports.com goes one further, saying that Michael Johnson "looks like a goner unless the Bengals step up significantly between now and mid-July."

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...

We're playing into stereotypes again. Cincinnati being unable to keep their own talent by electing to save cost with a stubborn principle of finding better value (or using their money more wisely), has followed this front office for decades.

And though we'd love to say that change has continued from within the front office, this is one we actually need to see happen.