Bengals 2013 Salary Situation: Breaking Down Cincinnati's Current Cap Status
The Cincinnati Bengals have among the most salary cap space to work with as free agency begins on Tuesday. They have managed to re-sign a number of their own free agents—primarily on special teams—and remain significantly under the cap.
Though financial details aren't yet available on many of these contracts, especially where their 2013 cap hits are concerned, the Bengals are thought to be about $38.3 million under the cap, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy.
Here's how the cash breaks down.
Signings and Other Contract Moves
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The Bengals have used a decent amount of their own money to retain some of their more important soon-to-be free agents. They still have $35.13 million in salary cap space to work with, however.
March 12: DE Robert Geathers, three-year deal, $9.5 million.
March 10: K Mike Nugent, two-year deal. Financials undisclosed.
March 10: DE Wallace Gilberry, three-year deal, $6.75 million. 2013 cap hit: $2.25 million (estimated).
March 8: LS Clark Harris, details unknown.
March 8: P Kevin Huber, five-year deal. Financials undisclosed.
March 7: RB/ST Cedric Peerman, two-year deal. Financials undisclosed.
March 7: S Jeromy Miles, lowest restricted free agent tender, $1.323 million. 2013 cap hit: $1.323 million.
March 7: WR Andrew Hawkins, exclusive rights free agent tender, $555,000. 2013 cap hit: $555,000.
March 7: LB Vincent Rey, exclusive rights free agent tender, $555,000. 2013 cap hit: $555,000.
March 1: DE Michael Johnson, franchise tag, $11.175 million. 2013 cap hit: $11.175 million.
Bengals Shore Up Special Teams Affordably
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One of the first things the Bengals decided to do with their money is keep their special teams unit intact. Long snapper Clark Harris, punter Kevin Huber and kicker Mike Nugent all received multi-year deals, as did running back and leading special teams tackler Cedric Peerman. Financial details for these contracts aren't yet available but should ultimately be manageable.
Defensive end Wallace Gilberry and linebacker Vincent Rey also received new deals. Rey received the one-year exclusive-rights free agency tender of $555,000 while Gilberry received a three-year, $6.75 million deal. Both are special teams contributors, but Gilberry is also a pass rushing specialist likely to get more playing time this year.
Bengals Give ERFA Tender to WR Andrew Hawkins
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Bengals receiver Andrew Hawkins is a dangerously fast player with good hands, but his size makes him a bit limited in terms of his offensive versatility. As such, they were able to retain him on the cheap, giving him the one-year exclusive-rights free agent tender worth $555,000 in 2013.
Bengals Use Franchise Tag on DE Michael Johnson
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Defensive end Michael Johnson was one of the most important components to the Bengals' vicious 2012 defensive line and pass rushing corps, with 11.5 sacks on the season. He was the only AFC North player to receive the $11.175 million franchise tag this year, all of which is a cap hit.
The Bengals and Johnson have until July 15 to negotiate a new deal; the thought is that the tag was given him in anticipation of coming to a long-term agreement.
Bengals Re-Sign DE Robert Geathers
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In an attempt to keep their bruising defensive line intact, the Bengals re-signed defensive end Robert Geathers on Tuesday to a three-year deal worth $9.5 million. Assuming the money is evenly distributed through all three years, he'll have a minimum cap hit in 2013 of $3.17 million, giving the Bengals a new salary cap number of $35.13 million under.
Considering Geathers is turning 30 in August, expect the immediate cap hit to be lower, the later years' money to be higher and that he doesn't see every penny of the new deal. Otherwise, it's a pretty expensive contract for a defensive end who has struggled to rush the passer.