Bengals at the center of trade rumors
By Carlos "Big C" Holmes
Cox News Service
March 23, 2008
With the NFL draft a little more than a month away, trade rumors are running rampant throughout the league and the Cincinnati Bengals seem to be in the thick of things. The Bengals, who have missed out on signing some key free agents including three of their own, have been the subject of conversation when it comes to these rumors.
Interest in Alexander
There have been reports that the Bengals could have an interest in Seattle Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander whose future with the club appears to be in jeopardy.
The Seahawks replenished their backfield this offseason with the signing of free agent running backs T.J. Duckett and Julius Jones. This could be a sign that Alexander is on his way out.
Alexander is due to make $4.475 million in base salary for the ’08 season and would count $6.75 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap. Based on those figures alone Alexander is likely to be a salary cap casualty unless he agrees to restructure his contract.
Alexander turns 31 years old in August and his numbers have been declining for the past two seasons. Not many teams would be willing to pay top dollar for an injury-prone, has-been running back.
Word on the street is that the Bengals are looking to jump start their running game after a lackluster performance by RB Rudi Johnson in the ’07 season ... not to mention the chunk of change he stands to make in ’08. The Bengals may look to dump Rudi and the $3.2 million he is scheduled to make this season. Bottom line, Rudi could be a post-June 1 release.
Alexander may not be the answer for the Bengals, but another back might.
Will they move up?
Rumors are circulating that the Bengals may consider moving up the draft board to select Arkansas RB Darren McFadden if he slips past the Oakland Raiders who sit at the No. 4 slot.
McFadden’s stock is said to be dipping a bit, but no way does he fall to No. 9 where the Bengals currently pick. In order to secure a legitimate shot at McFadden, the Bengals would have to leapfrog the New York Jets at No. 6 who love him like a fat kid loves cake.
Bengal fans shouldn’t be at all surprised if the team opts to choose a running back with their first selection rather than address a more obvious need like defensive tackle or offensive tackle.
The team went against the popular consensus in the 2004 draft when they selected Michigan RB Chris Perry. History could repeat itself if the cards play out in the Bengals’ favor on draft day.
Keep in mind that Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is a firm believer that if you always draft by need at some point you’re going to get your feelings hurt. You know what, he’s right.
Fans, don’t get all caught up in the draft hype that the Bengals are eyeing one of the premiere D-tackles in the first-round because you may get your feelings hurt.
Rumors of the Bengals trading WR Chad Johnson to the St. Louis Rams in return for WR Torry Holt and a draft pick are just that. Rams head coach Scott Linehan quickly put the kibosh on any trade scenario involving the team’s star receiver about a week ago.
“There’s no interest, no discussions about trading Torry Holt,” Linehan said. “He’s on our team, we want him on our team, and I hope he feels the same way.”
Out of all the trade rumors linked to the flamboyant Johnson, I find this one to be the most intriguing. Holt is a very fine receiver and a class act to boot. He’s a leader in the locker room as well as on the field and is a consummate professional. The best word to describe Holt is unselfish. He would be a welcome addition in Cincinnati.
Although Holt is nearly two years older than Johnson, he’s an extremely hard worker and has kept himself in tip-top shape. Talking to those within the Rams organization who know him best said that Holt is showing no signs of slowing down.
Front office change
Whispers are that there may be a change in the way the Bengals organization conducts their ironclad business. Some people may describe the team’s current negotiating practice as being cheap, but I’m sure the Bengals front office views it much differently. I think they like to call it smart money management.
Either way changes are expected to be made at the top and are believed to be for the betterment of the organization.