CINCINNATI – 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 11½ sacks last season, his fourth in the NFL, and is considered a key part of a defense 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.