Erin Weaver
Saturday March 2nd, 2013

The Cincinnati Bengals will use the franchise tag on DE Michael Johnson (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) The Cincinnati Bengals will use the franchise tag on DE Michael Johnson (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals  have officially tagged Michael Johnson, one of the top defensive ends slated to hit the free market. Unless Johnson gets a new contract that supersedes the tag, Johnson will make $11.2 million in 2013. The sides have until mid-July to work out a long-term deal.

With the tag on Johnson, the Bengals will have time to work out a multi-year deal with right tackle  Andre Smith. Even with Johnson tagged, the Bengals have more than $40 million in cap space to work with. A third-round pick in 2009 from Georgia Tech, Johnson proved his worth in 2012, notching 11.5 sacks in the final year of his rookie contract.

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