Update: Smith in fold
Posted Aug 30, 2009
Updated: 2:35 p.m.
The Bengals have signed first-round pick Andre Smith in a deal that could be as much as $42 million and the Alabama right tackle is expected to be on the field in Sunday's 3 p.m. practice at Paul Brown Stadium.
Smith, the sixth pick in the draft, is the next-to-last draft choice to sign in the NFL, ending a 30-day standoff that began at the Bengals' first practice on July 31 at Georgetown College. The club didn't release terms.
An industry source said that Alvin Keels, Smith's agent, came back to Cincinnati Saturday a week after his initial visit and finalized the deal with Bengals negotiators Katie and Troy Blackburn. It's believed to be a complex contract hinged on play time and options that gives Smith, the sixth pick, more money than Jacksonville tackle Eugene Monroe at No. 8 over five years at about $30 million.
The holdout grew out of the Raiders' deal at No. 7. The Bengals felt that was out whack with the rest of the first-round signings while Keels wanted the club to be true to the slotting system and wanted more than that seventh pick. The Bengals wanted something closer to Monroe and the deal for last year's sixth pick.
Smith started at right tackle during all of the spring workouts, a spot that has been taken by second-year player Anthony Collins. Collins has looked good protecting the passer and is trying to make his run play just as effective. Off a season he was named the nation's bets lineman, the 6-4, 335-pound Smith is known as a superior run blocker that is trying to make his protection skills just as effective.
What is unclear is how this affects the Bengals' final roster. Smith needs time to get acclimated and with just one preseason game and 15 days left before Opening Day, the Bengals may have to use a two-week roster exemption on Smith.
That means he can practice but not play in a game, including Thursday night's preseason finale against the Colts and the Sept. 13 opener against Denver, both at Paul Brown Stadium. If he does play in a game, they immediately lose the exemption so it would be hard to see activating him before the second game of the season Sept. 20 in Green Bay.