The Cincinnati Bengals plan to use the franchise tag on free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson.
The team has informed Johnson, whose breakout 2012 season on a solid defensive line featured 11.5 sacks, of the decision, USA Today reported Friday. The Bengals had yet to make an announcement on Johnson's status. The deadline is Monday.
As one the top defensive ends on the free-agent market, Johnson would have commanded significant interest among NFL teams. As it stands now, Johnson will make $11.1 million in 2013 unless he comes to terms on a new contract before next season.
The Bengals are also trying to reach an agreement with unsigned right tackle Andre Smith on a long-term contract.