Originally Posted by Benihana
Atkins is the only one that is even eligible to negotiate. And Andy Dalton will never be a top 5 QB, so he wont get top 5 money (you could argue top 10). AJ and Geno will cost a lot eventually, but so what, how does that effect what we do this year for the o-line?
Zeitler is good. But the fact of the matter with Smith gone, and Whitworth's production declining, this line is average at best and probably a bit below that. Factor in a QB and RB who are also fringe average at best, and you have a very poor offense. One good (great) WR does not an offense make.
While I agree with your overall synopsis about the offense lacking you are just not doing the math. 50 million-ish under the cap right now after MJ's franchising, there is no guarantee that will change this season, then what happens with his money next year see the CBA for franchising a guy 2 years in a row and so on. But even if he does sign long term that number won't shrink away completely. Same goes with Andre who wants north of 9 million per. Now the key here is to remember this franchise has few big contracts and where they do are key spots in LT (Whit) and CB (Hall) places where there is likely to always remain a big contract.
Now AJ and Geno arguably are top 5 at their positions and QB is by far the highest paid spot on the field so a "Matt Schaub" like guy is gonna being making close to as big a money as any other top guy at their position. And in order to maximize those deals the sooner you sign them the better. By the start of the '14 season you are gonna be looking at 5-7 guys making 9+ million a season, whereas right now we have none. Bye bye 50 million of cap room and welcome to cap casualties, and that isn't even taking into consideration quality replacements should they become injured or ineffective.
2013 Franchise tag # (tough to say what it will be in the followin years)
Geno - FA 2014 - 8.5 Mill
AJ - FA - 2015 - 10.5 Mill
Dalton - FA - 2015 - 14.5 Mill
Dunlap - FA 2014 - 11 Mill
The Bengals cannot just take a chance on Andre Smith, they have to offer what is smart and move on if he doesn't accept it. And frankly given the fact we all know how he struggles to stay conditioned and he is only gonna get older and that battle will be tougher to win I would feel better if he didn't sign with the Bengals, of course I am biased because I said 4 years ago I wouldn't take him then for this very same reason and he managed to squeeze out just under 2 full seasons since then and only one really commensurate with his talent level.