Saw this on fanball a couple days ago
The Bengals and the agent for running back Rudi Johnson are getting together to discuss a new contract for the potential free agent, and the Cincinnati Enquirer indicated that even if no deal were reached the team would use the franchise tag to keep Rudi around for at least another season. "We are trying," Bengals team president Mike Brown said. "We like Rudi, and we like [potential free agent wide receiver T.J.] Houshmandzadeh. They have shown what they can do. They fit in with what we're doing. They are popular in the locker room and with the fans out on the field. They are the kinds of guys you would like to have be part of the team."
Johnson set the club single-season rushing record this year with 1,454 yards and finished second in the league with 361 carries. The franchise tag would guarantee him a one-year deal at the average of the top five salaries at his position, or $5.167 million. Cincy drafted Chris Perry in the first round last year, but he missed virtually the entire season with an abdominal injury. It would be surprising if Rudi weren't brought back for at least the 2005 season, if only to fill the position for another year and allow the club to gauge what they have in Perry.
If we end up giving Rudi a new, full contract, our Perry pick will end up being sort of a waste. Sure we will have quality insurance behind him, but thats a lot of money for someone who will be our 3rd down back.
The only advantage the bengals have in all this negotiations is that there are SOOOO many FA RBs or RBs on the trading blocks, that Rudi cant demand as much as he normally would be able to. By actually franchising him, the bengals would get him for another year at a reasonable price, would be able to see what they have in Perry, and Rudi would be in a new market where all of these other FAs will have signed longer contracts and will be out of the picture. But then again, if they can get him dirt cheap, then by all means do so.
I also saw this on ffmastermind
-- Bengals Free Agents --
Thu Jan 6, 2005 --from FFMastermind.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Bengals have made re-signing RB Rudi Johnson and WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh priorities. The team could franchsie Johnson if an agreement cannot be reached. Other Bengals unrestricted free agents are P Kyle Richardson, C Jerry Fontenot, C Rich Braham, DE Carl Powell, DT Tony Williams, and LB Frank Chamberlin. The team is expected to retain all five of its restricted free agents - RB Kenny Watson, LB Marcus Wilkins, CB Rashad Bauman, CB Reggie Myles, and S Anthony Mitchell.
I wish we knew more about Warricks injury, b/c that would give us a lot more insight on what they are going to do. Ive heard that it may be way more severe than they are letting on and could end up ending his career. Of course that is just rumor and I have no link or anything. If Warrick cant play like he used to, TJ is a must sign. I think K. Washington is the better talent, but has yet to even come close to reaching it. TJ really grew on me this year, he started off pretty bad and had a major case of the dropsies but really turned it on at the end of the year. I hope he just doesnt ask for an arm and a leg, b/c that would definitely kill us.