Bengals retain another backup, re-sign center T.J. Johnson

After re-signing reserve wide receiver Brandon Tate last Friday, the Cincinnati Bengals retained backup center T.J. Johnson on Monday.

A third-year player, Johnson has been a backup since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2013. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad before appearing in 16 regular season games during the past two seasons. Johnson even saw action on two special teams plays in last year's wild-card playoff loss to the Steelers.

Prior to signing his one-year contract, Johnson was slated to become an exclusive rights free agent. Players with that designation have two or fewer seasons in the league. ERFAs can only negotiate with their former team once tendered, as Johnson was last week. Typically ERFAs will sign fairly soon after being tendered since no other team is competing for their services.

Johnson's re-signing means he'll compete later this year to continue backing up starting center Russell Bodine. A fourth-round draft pick in 2015, Bodine has been the Bengals' starter ever since his arrival in Cincinnati.

The Bengals now have two of the 15 players who were scheduled to be free agents under contract. The remainder are unrestricted free agents. Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.