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Bengals franchise RB Johnson


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From Sportsillustrated.cnn.com

 

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Bengals used their franchise tag Tuesday on running back Rudi Johnson, who set a Cincinnati rushing record last season but couldn't secure a long-term deal.

 

By using the tag on Johnson, the Bengals can keep him for $6.3 million next season while waiting to see whether first-round draft pick Chris Perry pans out. A hamstring injury and a hernia essentially wiped out Perry's rookie season.

 

Although Johnson wanted a long-term deal, the Bengals were more inclined to take it one year at a time. The Bengals are trying to overhaul their defense in the offseason, a higher priority than investing more money in the running back position.

 

"This is the most responsible move we can make in pursuit of our goal to give our fans a playoff season and a run for the Super Bowl in 2005," coach Marvin Lewis said.

 

Johnson's agent, Peter Schaffer, didn't return a phone message seeking comment. During negotiations, Schaffer indicated that Johnson might sit out the season rather than play under the franchise tag.

 

If he holds out, Johnson would lose out on the $6.3 million salary.

 

Johnson emerged during the 2003 season when Corey Dillon suffered a severe groin injury and had to share the position. The Bengals traded the disgruntled Dillon to New England in the offseason, but weren't sold on Johnson as his replacement. The Bengals tendered a one-year, $1.8 million offer instead of a long-term deal, and drafted Perry out of Michigan with the 26th overall pick last April.

 

Johnson ran for a club-record 1,454 yards and made the Pro Bowl this past season, when Cincinnati finished 8-8 for a second straight year. His 361 carries also topped Dillon's team record.

 

Perry appeared in only two games because of the injuries, and had hernia surgery last month. The Bengals couldn't afford to let Johnson leave as a free agent while they had questions about Perry's health.

 

The franchise tag gives the Bengals the option of matching any offer for Johnson, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 2. If they choose not to match another offer, the Bengals would get the other team's first-round draft picks in 2005 and 2006 as compensation -- a hefty price that precludes such a move.

 

The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that as a franchise player, Johnson will get paid the average of the top five salaries for running backs in the NFL this past season, which is $6.3 million.

 

The Bengals also have to decide what to do with receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had a breakout season in 2004 and is eligible for free agency.

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The Bengals have done everything but hand over the keys to Chris Perry. They want a dual threat out of the backfield and Perry has the hands for it. However, Rudi proved so durable and effective on the field he's got real value now. Franchise season rushing record, fans love to cheer for him ("Rudi, Rudi, Rudi" just sounds good in a stadium), and always been a class act.

 

I think if the Bengals really wanted Rudi long term they would have done something by now. They could have him for a much lower cap number than the 6+ mil the franchise tag will cost.

 

I believe if they can get some draft picks for him, they will do it and let Perry run. I'd be shocked if they got 2 1st rounders in this RB market, but they'd take less IMO...

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They are not going to get two 1st rounders for him. Johnson made his move by saying he would sit out...Bengals placed the tag...It's johnson's move. As said above, they are pretty much giving the job to Perry. I think Johnson wants to get a longer contract with a team and not having to worry so he can get on with his career. That's hard to convince him when you take a RB as high as they did with Perry and they only want to pay him a year at a time. Sounds to me like the Bengals want all RB's to know they are the boss and will screw you how they want. That is going to hurt them in the long run.

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  Sounds to me like the Bengals want all RB's to know they are the boss and will screw you how they want.  That is going to hurt them in the long run.

 

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They are the boss, and I think they're doing the right thing by removing the "Prima Donna" mentality of some of their players. Rudi was a big part in doing that last year by taking over successfully for C.Dillon. Now unfortuneatley, he wants his, and they dont' want to commit long-term since they have Perry. Tough spot for Rudi to be in, but I don't know as how they're "screwing" him...they want to win, and think Perry is a better player in the long run. JMO

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I think if the Bengals really wanted Rudi long term they would have done something by now.  They could have him for a much lower cap number than the 6+ mil the franchise tag will cost.

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I'm not so sure.I was listening to Len Pasquarelli on ESPN radio Tuesday night,and he stated that the Bengals have had a five year $25 million dollar deal sitting on the table for a while now.It was rejected,and he stated that Rudi was looking for a BIG payday.

 

I don't know how much of what he said is accurate.

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I think Rudi is making a mistake by not taking the substantial money the Bengals are offering him. I think he's a very good-to-excellent back.. but does anyone see him in the same class as the Tomlinson/EJames/SAlexander/PHolmes/JLewis group? I certianly don't.. he's one of the better of the 2nd tier backs, in my opinion.

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Sounds to me like the Bengals want all RB's to know they are the boss and will screw you how they want.  That is going to hurt them in the long run.

 

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This is silly.

 

You can't swing a dead cat most draft years without hitting a pretty freakin' good RB. Rudi was a 4th rounder, for cryin' out loud.

 

Rudi's agent is trying to squeeze a $6MM+ payday out of the Bengals, who aren't gonna bite. GOOD FOR THEM.

 

I think they should spend their money on an interior OL (if they can't get an interior DL). Then it won't matter what the name is on the RB's jersey.

 

I hope somebody steps up and offers the Bengals a 1st and 3rd rounder. (I don't think it will happen, I just hope). Then they can take another back in the 3rd/4th round. The Bengals will be a better team overall if they improve their DEF and add OL depth than they will be if the sign Rudi and can't do those things.

 

The chant in Cincinnati is changing from "R-U-D-I" to "G-R-E-E-D-I"

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I think Rudi is making a mistake by not taking the substantial money the Bengals are offering him. I think he's a very good-to-excellent back.. but does anyone see him in the same class as the Tomlinson/EJames/SAlexander/PHolmes/JLewis group? I certianly don't.. he's one of the better of the 2nd tier backs, in my opinion.

 

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This is exactly what I was talking about players who want longterm contracts. Rudi was the one I read saying he was hoping to negotiate a longer contract.

 

 

Jeff Garcia signed last year with the Browns for a 4 year 25 million dollar contract. 5 million was the signing bonus and his base salary was half a million. In 2005-06 he was scheduled to make 4.5 million. The last 2 years were the last 15 million but those 2 years were able to be voided by Garcia or the Browns.

 

So out of that 25 million that Garcia signed for he got 5.5 million of it since they released him. Football players get the least amount of guranteed money since they can be cut anytime in their contract.

 

Who knows how the Bengals are wording the contract to Rudi.

 

Don't get wrong I don't side with any player in contract negotiations since even the lowest paid taxi squad player is making probably 3 times as much as I am. But I do believe in getting what you can while the getting's good. If Rudi was my son or brother or my Dad, shoot I would be hoping he got 50 million............

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The Bengals don't operate than way, Phenom. The yearly salaries are pretty even and usually only go up based on a the percentage of how much the cap is expected to grow. They do escalators and incentives, but generally shy away from roster bonuses or heavy salaries in later years.

 

If ESPN is right and they had a @25 mil deal on the table it was probably something like a 8 mil bonus with a 3 mil/year salary. That's about what Dillon got in his last contract with the Bengals as I recall.

 

Anyway, I think Rudi is overestimating his value. I don't think the Bengals are out to get him or show him who's boss. They have a number in mind for the contract, and if history is a predictor, they'll stick to it.

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They are the boss, and I think they're doing the right thing by removing the "Prima Donna" mentality of some of their players.  Rudi was a big part in doing that last year by taking over successfully for C.Dillon.  Now unfortuneatley, he wants his, and they dont' want to commit long-term since they have Perry.  Tough spot for Rudi to be in, but I don't know as how they're "screwing" him...they want to win, and think Perry is a better player in the long run.  JMO

 

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I can see how that could sound stupid. They are the Bossis what I was saying. They do call the shots. what I'm saying is it is going to screw them in the long run because down the line they are going to pull this and not have a decent guy there. It will happen sometime. Perry is still a question mark and ticked them off early last year because he had problems holding onto the ball. If they want to win now Johnson is their best bet.

 

Oh yeah...Johnson wasn't just proving this year to be the solution for getting rid of Dillon. He did the year before and that is why they knew they could get rid of Dillon. Perry has not shown anything yet. I guess that could prove the point of only wanting to pay Johnson for a year. But they are paying alot if they are going to give Perry any decent time to see if he can do anything.

Edited by Blitztalk
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The Franchis tag placed on Rudi, would net the Bengals a 1st rd pick this year and a 3rd round pick next year in a sign & trade deal.

 

But IMO that would be dangerous gamble given the injury-riddled season backup Chris Perry had. He hasn't proven he's durable enough to pound the ball between the tackles which is the Bengals offensive forte with their inside power run game.

 

Whereas Johnson is a blue-collar runner who last season rushed for a team-record 1,454 yards, led the NFL in broken tackles with 54 and earned his first Pro Bowl bid.

Edited by Big Score 1
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Kirwan at NFL.com

 

Another 2 cents worth.

 

Although I disagree with with most of it. I doubt the Bengals knew Rudi would be a good back or they would have signed him last year. Also, they'd get hammered if they just transition tagged him and got nothing in return. It was the same with Takeo Spikes when he went to Buffalo.

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Actually,the Bengals did get(indirectly)something in return.

 

The NFL awarded the Bengals the last pick in the third round as a compensatory pick for free agents who left(mainly Spikes).

 

The pick was used on Landon Johnson,who played pretty darn good this season.

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