As the NFL free agency period gets closer and closer, the likelihood of the Cincinnati Bengals losing both of their top two free agents increases with it. As of now, defensive end Michael Johnson is expected to get a contract offer from another team that Cincinnati won't be able to match.
It's impossible to see Johnson's impact on a game in a mere box score, and you'd be unimpressed by the mere 3.5 sacks he had in 2013. But it's his impact as a run-defender and ability to rack-up QB pressures that cause advanced analytics sites like Pro Football Focus to rank him as their No. 9 free agent:
9. Michael Johnson, Edge Defender
After a breakout 2012 with big sack numbers, Johnson came crashing back down to earth with numbers that were a truer reflection of the player that he is. A strong run defender with flashes of brilliance rushing the passer.
As for offensive tackle Anthony Collins, most are ranking him high based off a small sample size of games he started in 2013 at left tackle.
26. Anthony Collins, Offensive Tackle
Whenever he has played he has excelled, yet his low snap count has always kept teams away from him. Played substantially in 2013 and put enough on tape that it won’t be the case this year.
A career backup, Collins looked like a quality starting tackle for eight games last year, and as a blindside protector, another team may overvalue him and overpay him to pry him away from Cincinnati.