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Thursday, May 30, 2013
Bengals' most efficient edge rusher

By Jamison Hensley

Michael Johnson led the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive ends in sacks last season with 11.5 sacks. He tops the Bengals in salary with the $11.175 million franchise tag.

But Johnson doesn't rank as the most efficient edge rusher for the Bengals. That title goes to Carlos Dunlap.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dunlap pressured the quarterback on 13 percent of his rushes. On 375 pass-rush snaps, Dunlap recorded six sacks, 13 quarterback hits and 32 hurries.

In comparison, Johnson reached the quarterback 10 percent of the time. On 506 pass-rush snaps, Johnson 11.5 sacks, eight hits and 34 hurries.

How much Dunlap continues to rush the passer off the edge could decrease this season. With the signing of James Harrison, Dunlap could move inside next to Geno Atkins on passing downs.

In terms of defensive ends, there's no question that Dunlap is the better value than Johnson this year. He is scheduled to make $630,000 in the last year of his rookie contract. Dunlap will command more than that, especially if he can break out like Johnson did a year ago. At 24, Dunlap is also two years younger than Johnson.

If the Bengals can't reach an extension with Johnson or Dunlap, Cincinnati will face a decision in 2014 when both will be free agents. The Bengals should have enough cap room to sign both, but they may not want to invest so much at that position considering the depth with Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt.