- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Everyone knows the Ravens will put the franchise tag on quarterback Joe Flacco, and the Steelers and Browns won't be using the tag on March 4. The only mystery with the tag in the AFC North involves the Bengals.
Cincinnati has a lot of salary-cap room and options when it comes to who it will keep off the free-agent market:
Offensive tackle Andre Smith: He was the best right tackle in the NFL last season. The former first-rounder allowed a total of nine hits on the quarterback last season and committed four penalties. Tagging Smith would cost an estimated $9.6 million.
Defensive end Michael Johnson: He had a breakout season last year, finishing second on the Bengals with 11.5 sacks and making an impact on run defense. The tag on Johnson is estimated to cost $10.9 million.
Kicker: The Bengals would first have to decide between Mike Nugent, who got the tag last year, or Josh Brown. Nugent hit 19 of 23 kicks last season (82.3 percent) and was perfect inside 40 yards (10 of 10). After Nugent injured his right calf in December, Brown converted 11 of 12 field goals (91.7 percent), with his only miss coming on a desperation 56-yarder in Pittsburgh.
Punter Kevin Huber: He set team records last season for his averages in gross (46.6) and net punting (42.0). His net average ranked fourth in the NFL.
After recording your vote, send me a note to my mailbag explaining your decision. Your comment could be used in a post on the AFC North blog later in the week.
11hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com
12hJason Gibbs, Special to ESPN.com