The Cincinnati Bengals are still without Michael Johnson for Sunday’s training camp practice.
Johnson was noticeably absent for Saturday’s practice with what initially looked like a veteran’s rest day. However, Johnson was not in shoulder pads and not participating again on Sunday, signaling that it is likely more than just a veteran’s rest day. Johnson was spotted on the rehab field at times on Saturday ad Sunday.
Michael Johnson not dressed second day in a row. Means yesterday probably wasn't just a vet day off. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) July 30, 2017
Similarly, fellow veteran defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry was also sitting out on Saturday but had pads on at the start of Sunday’s session. Unfortunately, he ended up on the rehab field after stretching on Sunday in addition to being there Saturday, too.
Johnson is now 30 years old and accounted for just five sacks in 2015 before getting just 3.5 last season. He even ranked 103rd out of 110 eligible edge defenders in Pro Football Focus’ rankings. His play doesn’t look like that of a starting defensive end making upwards of $5 million annually, but that’s his situation heading into 2017.
Now entering his ninth NFL season, Johnson signed a four-year, $20 million with the Bengals in 2015, which included a $4.5 million signing bonus (fully guaranteed) and an annual average salary of $5 million.
In 2017, Johnson will have a cap hit of $5,125,000 and a dead cap value of $2,250,000 if he were to be cut. That’s very unlikely, but seeing him continue to miss practice after three-straight subpar seasons is concerning. It’s also not good news to see him missing two of the first three training camp sessions.
If the Bengals were to release Johnson, they would save around $9 million during the next two years while owing him just over $1 million in each of the next two years, according to Over The Cap.
Even so, there’s almost no chance of Johnson being cut. Let’s just hope he’s healthy and back on the field sooner rather than later. For now, Johnson being out means more reps for Ryan Brown, Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson, Chris Smith and Will Clarke on the edge.
Yesterday with Johnson out of practice, Cincy Jungle’s John Sheeran reported that Carl Lawson, Chris Smith and Ryan Brown took snaps at right end in that order. Meanwhile third round pick Jordan Willis stuck to left end behind Carlos Dunlap. Meanwhile, Andrew Billings has been practicing with the first team defense at nose tackle.
We’ll keep you updated on this story as it develops.