When it comes to re-signing their own players during free agency, the two biggest names for the Bengals are undoubtedly Michael Johnson and Andre Smith. Both were drafted by the Bengals in 2009, Johnson in the third round and Smith in the first. Both are coming off the final year of their four-year rookie contracts. And both had their best statistical years last season, as Smith finally played a full 16-game stretch and Johnson put together an 11.5 sack effort.
There is no doubt that the Bengals would like to have both of them back in stripes, but the nagging doubt remains that one of them might get away. With only one franchise tag to apply between two players, there is no gaurantee that the team can re-sign both. This paranoia that either Smith or Johnson will receiver a better payday somewhere else has led to heated debates over which player should be the higher priority for the Bengals. And as March 12 draws ever nearer, there is still no clear winner.
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