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Bengals give DE Johnson franchise tag

Associated Press

3/1/2013 2:47:10 PM

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The Cincinnati Bengals have given defensive end Michael Johnson the franchise tag, meaning he will be paid $11.175 million this season if he doesn't reach a long-term contract with the team.

Johnson had 11 1/2 sacks last season, his fourth in the NFL, and is considered a key part of a defence that ranked sixth overall.

The team and Johnson still can negotiate a longer deal.

Under the franchise tag in 2013, a player is paid according to a formula based on salaries for the past five years at the position and their percentage of the total salary cap. With the non-exclusive tag, his team has the right to match any offer sheet, or get two first-round draft picks in return for allowing him to leave.