Stacy Andrews is still not the heir apparent

The problem with projecting Stacy Andrews the heir apparent to Willie Anderson is that Andrews isn't signed beyond this season. And with the going-rate of quality tackles in the league today, you have to believe that the Bengals may struggle to sign Andrews to a long-term deal -- which, in reality, they have been. It's not that the Bengals won't be able to afford it; rather they're interpretation of value is often different than what other high-paying teams may consider. On the other hand, as the salary cap expands, so do the chances of signing Andrews.

Even though Anderson is signed through 2011, it's highly unlikely that he'll see it to the end; either through retirement or simply the team waiving the second best offensive tackle in franchise history (sorry, I'm biased... Willie is my guy). Furthermore, Levi Jones' deal grows a decent amount after 2009 while Andrew Whitworth also sees a constant $3 million number. This brings a cautious mind forward, wondering if the Bengals will add to the increasing value of the team's offensive linemen we have signed long-term. Of course, the key to figuring out a player's impact against the cap is the bonuses signed that protract throughout the lifetime of the contract -- which is added to the base salary (and is not always made available).

The follow is a chart of what the offensive line is scheduled to earn (dollars are in the millions, in case you needed that bit of instruction):

  Willie Levi Bobbie Whit Stacy
2008 $3.15 $3.0 $2.0 $.6 $7.455
2009 $2.7 $3.0 $2.4 $2.2 --
2010 $3.2 $3.75 -- $3.0 --
2011 $3.45 $4.55 -- $3.25 --
2012 -- $5.0 -- $3.185 --
  -- -- -- $3.4 --
  Eric G. Collins Kooistra
2008 $927,000 $295,000 $605,000
2009 -- $385,000 $620,000
2010 -- $447,000  
2011 -- $555,000  

The Bengals claim that Andrews, Houshmandzadeh and Shayne Graham are their priorities to get deals done before becoming unrestricted free agents after this season. While it's speculated that Houshmandzadeh is staging his own silent protest, and Andrews is under a heavy cap-hitting franchise deal, any growth on Graham's deal is quiet (though he's the most likely free agent to re-sign with the Bengals... but that's just a guess).

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