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Bengals Tender Joseph; Others

Could J-Jo return to the 'Nati?

Today the Bengals announced that they have given DB Johnathan Joseph the highest restricted free agent tender offer.  The offer provides the team with the right of first refusal, along with first-and-third round draft pick compensation if they don’t.

They also tendered LB Brandon Johnson at the 2nd-round compensation level, and starting guard Nate Livings at no compensation. 

The only scenario in which these moves actually count for anything is if the league votes to continue operations under the rules of the 2010 season (the last under the CBA).  Under this scenario, one of six that were expertly explained by NFP here, the team would have access to both the franchise and transitional tags, there would be no salary cap or floor within which to work, and players heading into their sixth seasons, like Joseph, would still be subject to restricted free agency.

With several teams tendering players this week, it could signal the league is willing to try this option in an effort to continue league business while negotiating a new CBA for 2012.  Whether it comes to fruition or not, this was a simply a rare smart move by Bengals management.

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