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Bengals Bytes (6/10): Protecting the future

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A look at why Giovani Bernard's new deal is as much about keeping Andy Dalton safe as securing a talented young running back. The demand for London tickets from Bengals fans has surprised the NFL. Cam Newton puts to rest one of the most talked about celebrations in NFL history.

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Grade for the Bengals re-signing RB Giovani Bernard
In an offseason in which running backs like Chris Ivory and Doug Martin have earned more than $30 million in total salary, any contract like this has to be considered a bargain.

QBs aren’t the only things Dunlap knocks down
The Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end has been on a tear of late, taking down opposing quarterbacks and franchise records alike. The Fort Dorchester High School graduate finished the 2015 season with 13.5 sacks to set the Bengals’ official single-season sack record. Before the NFL established the current guidelines for tracking sacks, Cincinnati’s Coy Bacon was credited with 26 in 1976, so Dunlap could still shoot for that mark.

Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard's deal makes offense comfortable
If you are still having a hard time understanding the Cincinnati Bengals' roster philosophy, then maybe you never will grasp it. By now, the blueprint behind the Bengals' 52 wins in the past five seasons ought to be painfully obvious: draft well and keep their own.

Pittsburgh Steelers assistant Joey Porter to follow 'Joey Porter rule'
Joey Porter will respect the NFL rule that might as well bear his name. The latest 2016 rule book adjustments expressly prohibit assistant coaches from entering the field of play, which Porter did during a heated moment in January's AFC wild-card game against the Cincinnati Bengals. When asked Thursday about the league's tweak, the Pittsburgh Steelers' outside linebackers coach said matter-of-factly, "a rule's a rule."

Bengals build on sacred turf
Karlos Dansby has had 12 years, 180 games, and four franchises worth of what they like to call nowadays team-building sessions. Everything from bowling to basket-weaving as a way to use up one of the 10 voluntary practices in the name of unity.  But then he came to Cincinnati and the Bengals this spring to play linebacker and on Thursday head coach Marvin Lewis walked him over to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and instead of chemistry Dansby found history.

Hobson's Choice Podcast: Simmons keeps harvesting
Darrin Simmons, who goes back home to Kansas and the family farm each summer, is the only special teams coordinator Marvin Lewis has ever had till all ends of the roster. Now that director of player personnel Duke Tobin is out in the open Simmons may be the most underrated figure on staff and that’s why we sat down with him recently for a Hobson’s Choice Podcast.

'Top 100 Players of 2016': No. 44 Tyler Eifert
Tyler Eifert is voted the 44th-best player in the NFL by his peers on "Top 100 Players of 2016."

Gio's workload mirrors JB's run
There used to be a time when a Bengals running back _ any Bengals running back _ would snatch the first post-game stat sheet they saw and check to see if they had their 20 carries. Those days were officially packed away this week when Giovanni Bernard, their most versatile running back in a generation, signed a three-year extension to be a cog in the machine rather than the machine.

Demand for Cincinnati Bengals tickets in London puts pressure on NFL
The Cincinnati Bengals are giving up a game at Paul Brown Stadium in 2016 to host Washington on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium in London, but the team will be bringing over 2,100 season ticket holders – a number that surprised the NFL and rates as the third-best number of domestic sales in the league’s 10-year run of games in England.

Giovani Bernard, extension rare on many levels
Almost never do we see what transpired Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium. We observed a running back sitting down at the table, across from a team executive, pen in hand signing the holy grail of NFL playerdom: the second contract. That’s the set-for-life piece of paper which draws the line in the NFL sand between just-a-guy and franchise piece.

Random Bytes

Bill Simmons Breaks Free: His "F—ing Shitty" ESPN Exit, Who Courted Him and Details of His HBO Show
The controversial sports personality opens up about his acrimonious relationship with John Skipper, learning about being fired on Twitter, becoming a (gasp!) feminist and what he thinks of his former network: "Ask yourself this: 'Who could work there that you respect right now?'"

Bill Simmons' bitterness toward ESPN knows no end | Other Sports Bill Simmons is the subject of an excellent profile by Lacey Rose of The Hollywood Reporter. Published on Wednesday, the cover story unearths some illuminating tidbits about Simmons' new company and his bitter divorce from ESPN.

Robert Griffin III will have to earn Browns starter job | The MMQB with Peter King
Robert Griffin III begins with a clean slate in Cleveland, but his new head coach, Hue Jackson, explains why RG3 still will need to earn the starting job this summer. Plus items on the Von Miller-Broncos contract situation, the Cardinals’ small secret and Art Briles’ potential NFL job opportunities.

The Vikings have the makings of a surprise Super Bowl contender
Typically, picking a darkhorse Super Bowl contender during the offseason is a hollow act, as a select crop seemingly always rises to the top. Yet this year, the Minnesota Vikings boast a talented, underrated and hungry squad which deserves an exception.

Colts, Luck trying to strike team-friendly deal
During a glorious Wednesday evening practice at Lucas Oil Stadium, with the roof and northward-facing window open, Colts owner Jim Irsay contemplated the most important move of the offseason, one that is yet to come: The contract extension of quarterback Andrew Luck.

Is This Greg Little's Last Chance in the NFL?
Greg Little is looking to take advantage of the current questions surrounding the Buffalo Bills receiving core, but does he have what it takes to rediscover the promise from earlier in his NFL career?

Johnny Manziel Gets Served At The Club
Professional nightclub goer Johnny Manziel was leaving a spot in Hollywood Wednesday night when, among the paparazzi, a man hopped out to serve him. The server delivered papers related to a lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles rental company. Manziel is accused of causing thousands of dollars of damage to a home he rented for two nights in April.

Roddy White -- Will sign with contender or retire
Former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who was released by the team in March, said if he doesn't play for a contender, he'd be content with retirement. "I'm considering playing for a winner, but if I'm not I'm fine just where I'm at right now," White told ESPN.

Darren McFadden of Dallas Cowboys sues former business manager for $15 million
Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden has sued his longtime business manager, saying he misappropriated and mishandled money throughout his NFL career, including $3 million lost in a bitcoin business venture. The $15 million lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Michael Vick of Mabelvale, Arkansas, and 10 unknown others named only as "Doe."

MVP Newton says he's 'putting aside' the dab next season
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is done with the dab. The NFL's Most Valuable Player is moving on from the touchdown celebration he performed last season that became popular across the country.