The Bengals used the franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson a year ago, but the 27-year-old repaid the team with just 3.5 sacks in 2013, making a second tag unlikely. Consequently, he’s expected to hit the open market, but the presence of Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry could soften the blow, according to ESPN.com’s Cole Harvey.
Other AFC news and notes:
- Harvey also mentions Raiders free agent running back Darren McFadden as a realistic acquisition given Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s not-so-secret appreciation for the 26-year-old, 2008 first-rounder.
- Chargers inside linebacker Donald Butler, whose rookie deal is expiring, has missed 23 of 66 career games, but the Bolts value what he brings when healthy, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tom Krasovic. In fact, the team drafted Manti Te’o with the intention of pairing him with Butler inside defensive coordinator John Pagano’s 3-4 front. Butler and the team discussed a contract extension last summer, and all indications suggest both sides are interested in a new deal.
- The Ravens are expected to be awarded the league-maximum four compensatory picks, according to ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley.