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Thursday, June 3, 2010
What's Johnathan Joseph's value?

By James Walker
ESPN.com

The Cincinnati Bengals could be headed for a tough decision next offseason with Johnathan Joseph. One of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL, Joseph will carry a heavy price tag if he has another great season in the final year of his rookie contract.

The value for cornerbacks has skyrocketed. The NFL has become a passing league, and it's extremely difficult to defend offenses without great players in the secondary.

The Bengals are fortunate to have one of the league's top cornerback tandems in Joseph and Leon Hall. But it will be costly if the Bengals want to keep this pair together beyond next season.

Here are some of the recent high-end contracts cornerbacks have signed:

Barring injury, Joseph's value on the open market could land somewhere within this group. His play was equal or better last season than everyone on this list with the exception of Asomugha, who's arguably the top cornerback in the NFL.

Also, Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets could soon set a new ceiling for cornerbacks.

Would the Bengals be willing to pay Joseph somewhere around $9-$11 million per season? That would mean the total value of the contract ranges between $54-$66 million for a six-year deal. Possibly looking ahead, Cincinnati signed former first-round pick Adam Jones to a two-year contract, which could be insurance if Joseph gets too expensive to keep.