Bengals CB Jonathan Joseph Fine With the Franchise Tag

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Jonathan Joseph is scheduled to be a free agent after the season, and while he'd like a long-term deal, he'd happily accept the one-year franchise tag.

"I'd sign it the first day," Joseph said according to Geoff Hobson of "Hopefully we can get a deal done before then."

A first-round pick out of South Carolina in 2006, Joseph has started 56 of 65 games, totaling 264 tackles and 14 interceptions.

2007 first-round pick Leon Hall has become the Bengals' top cornerback, and 2011 will be the final year of his contract. Hall is scheduled to earn $1.1625 million next season, but through playing-time and performance incentives, will have nearly $2 million added to that salary in the off-season.

The franchise tag for cornerbacks in 2010 was $9.566 million, a figure that could rise significantly should the formula remain the same in the next collective bargaining agreement. That potential increase, along with Hall's earned base salary escalation, could force the Bengals to let Joseph hit the unrestricted free agent market.

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