Did Watson knock Rudi out of Cincinnati? Cuts will help Bengals save a ton of money.

How good is Kenny Watson right now? If you take his Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement, Watson would rank higher than Brandon Jacobs, Lawrence Maroney, Chester Taylor, Marshawn Lynch, Jamal Lewis, Free Taylor, Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Julius Jones, Clinton Portis, Willie Parker, Steven Jackson, LenDale White, Reggie Bush and Larry Johnson. Only Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Joseph Addai, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marion Barber have a better DPAR than Watson's 20.7.

Take Watson's DVOA (Defensive-adjusted Value Over Average) and he falls into the top-three. His success rate -- success rate is a number that "represents the player's consistency, measured by successful running plays (the definition of success being different based on down and distance) divided by total running plays" -- is in the top-five.

DPAR - "This number represents the total number of points scored due to plays where this RB carried/caught the ball, compared to a replacement-level RB in the same game situations."
DVOA - A number that "represents value, per play, over an average RB in the same game situations. The more positive the DVOA rating, the better the player's performance."

What I'm trying to say without overwhelming explanation of football metrics is that Watson is playing at a level right now that could be considered one of the league's best without the support of normal numbers -- which Watson doesn't have.

Did Watson's 130-yard performance knock Rudi Johnson out of Cincinnati for next season? Most fans and media alike have been questioning the over-use of Johnson this season. Sometimes Watson's first carry will come as late as the third quarter. If Rudi Johnson is cut, the Bengals would save "an estimated $1.4 million" on the cap next season.

And it makes you wonder, with the team an estimated (very loosely, by the way) $30 million under the cap next season, what they could do this offseason. I know most people are sighing right now not expecting this team to do much. But there is a chance for everyone to reset. To start from scratch. To save face during this tenure that's badly leaking.

Dexter Jackson is signed through 2009. If the Bengals decide to cut him, the team would save $1.3 million in 2008 and $1.5 million in 2009. Add that to the fact that Bryan Robinson is $2.7 million against the cap, John Thornton is $4.375 million against the cap (will be $4.625 in 2008) and Justin Smith is $8.644 million against the cap. Those three players, this year alone, account for $15.7 million against the cap. More than enough money to land solid free agents. (numbers at go-Bengals.com)

However, the team is looking to bring several players back.

The Bengals have a dozen potential unrestricted free agents, including five current starters. It's believed that conversations, not necessarily firm offers, have started with offensive lineman Stacy Andrews, linebacker Landon Johnson and safety Madieu Williams. Contract talks are believed to be continuing on a potential multi-year deal for defensive end Justin Smith, whom upper management would like to bring back.

But you know the story. Things will likely be status quo until someone higher up actually puts forth the effort to step aside and give Lewis ALL the tools he needs to put together a roster of talented players.

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