There is a sense of growing optimism, with various reports that the Bengals might, just in fact, be in the running to retain wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. firstPick brought this up initially, with the following National Football Post report:
The National Football Post has learned that free-agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the Cincinnati Bengals are close to reaching an agreement on a new contract. It’s believed there’s 70-percent chance Houshmandzadeh returns to Cincinnati next season, sources said.
Geoff Hobson's report says:
He (Houshmandzadeh) said the Bengals and agent Kennard McGuire have talked and there is a sense that both sides would like to reach a resolution that keeps him in Cincinnati.
Joe Reedy had something similar to say.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh said he has not heard from his agent, Kennard McGuire, about a possible deal to keep the eight-year wide receiver in Cincinnati. The National Football Post reported earlier today that the two sides were close to an agreement.
“The only person from the Bengals who I’ve talked to today is Carson and he said ‘Don’t forget about us,’ ” Houshmandzadeh said.
The Bengals decided not to place the franchise tag on Houshmandzadeh, which would’ve been for $9.88 million. It is believed that he is looking for a deal upwards of $10 million per season.
As many as eight teams could be in the T.J. Derby starting Friday, but the favorites remain the Eagles, Giants and Bears.
In truth, none of us believed that the Bengals had a shot, much less a big shot, at retaining Houshmandzadeh. Now, that's not to say he won't be gone, but the tune does seem very different.
However, Joe Reedy posted a clarification, or reason not to get too excited.
There was a report by the National Football Post late Thursday afternoon about the Bengals and Houshmandzadeh being close to a deal, but as of now no one has told the wide receiver. Houshmandzadeh said that he had not received a text message or voice mail from his agent, Kennard McGuire, about being close to a deal. “The only person from the Bengals who I’ve talked to today is Carson and he said ‘don’t forget about us,’” Houshmandzadeh said. As many as eight teams could be in the T.J. Derby starting today, but the favorites remain the Eagles, Giants and Bears.