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Bengals release 10-year veteran Michael Johnson

Just days after locking down two of their star defensive linemen for the long haul, the Cincinnati Bengals are saying goodbye to one of their longer-tenured.

Cincinnati released 10-year veteran Michael Johnson on Saturday, ending his second of two stints with the organization. Johnson was due around $6.1 million in 2018, and his release frees up nearly $ million in cap space for the Bengals.

Save for one year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Johnson has spent his entire career with the Benagals. He was the team's third-leading sacker over the past three seasons (13.5), right behind Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap (29, each), each of whom earned long-term extensions this week.

Drafted by Cincy in the third round of the 2009 draft, Johnson exits the team with 44 career sacks, eight forced fumbles and three interceptions.

Johnson's departure makes way for young studs Carl Lawson (8.5 sacks in 2017) and Jordan Willis (1) to occupy his pass rusher role opposite Dunlap. Johnson played on 59.8 percent of defensive snaps in 2017, while Lawson (41.6 percent) and Willis (31.4) filled in intermittently.

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