Extra Points: Bengals, Sam, Jets, Bortles

In assessing the likelihood of the Bengals‘ free agents returning to the team, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer suggests that defensive end Michael Johnson is likely to end up elsewhere this spring. After franchising Johnson last year, the Bengals could choose to place the franchise tag on their defensive end again this time around, but Dehner believes that’s the only scenario in which he returns to Cincinnati. According to Dehner, the club will likely be unwilling to shell out big bucks for another defensive lineman with Geno Atkins already on a lucrative, long-term deal.

Here’s more from around the NFL, with just over a month remaining until 2014’s free agent period:

  • The success of teams with low-salary quarterbacks like the Seahawks and 49ers has prompted a discussion on whether clubs with solid veteran QBs ought to let them walk in free agency if the price gets too high. However, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com dismisses such thinking, arguing that the NFL’s cap structure ensures that even the more highly-paid signal-callers remain undervalued.
  • Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal reports (via Twitter) that defensive end prospect Michael Sam, who publicly came out as gay yesterday, left The Novo Agency and signed with new NFL agents Cameron Weiss and Joe Barkett of Empire Athletes.
  • Mullen also reports (via Twitter) that free-agent-to-be Emmanuel Sanders has left agent Jordan Woy.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com takes a look at one of the Jets’ top priorities this offseason: Wide receiver. In Cimini’s view, the club would be wise to avoid paying top dollar for Eric Decker, and instead should focus on a $5-7MM free agent, who can be slotted alongside a receiver picked in the draft. Cimini identifies potential Seahawks cap casualty Sidney Rice as a possible target for New York.
  • We learned earlier today that Henoc Muamba received a $107K guarantee from the Colts on his futures contract, the largest guarantee for that type of deal so far this offseason. According to Brian McIntyre (via Twitter), the second-largest guarantee for a player on a futures deal belongs to safety Sherrod Martin ($100K), who signed with the Jaguars.
  • Top QB prospect Blake Bortles is preparing to do everything, including throw, at this month’s scouting combine, writes Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel.
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