During the morning of August 5, Alvin Keels Tweets, "its two parties in this negotiation. I agree with you. 5 & 7 are done. its up to us to get it done! the Cincy fans deserve it!" That's been the extent of an update from the team or Andre Smith's agent since Smith officially began his holdout last week. There's not much we can do about that, other than wait for an update or, god forbid, progress.
On June 30, we concluded that the benchmarks were set -- a range in which the Bengals and Keels could negotiate after the fifth and seventh overall picks had signed their deals. In truth, we don't know what the hold up is. Are the Bengals looking at the $23.5 million that Darrius Heyward-Bey received. Is Keels looking at the $28 million that Mark Sanchez received? Where's the common ground? Could it be as simple as finding something in the middle that makes both parties happy? How much concession are both sides willing to give? We are, however, getting closer to that threshold in which the team or the agent start using the media to generate public support.
I did argue something else that might be impacting negotiations -- a stretch, I agree, but possible.
So is there a possibility that the Bengals choose against using Mark Sanchez's contract as the ceiling? The Bengals could argue that he's a quarterback; therefore the known slotting system for the Top Five -- if not the Top Ten -- is quarterback-inflated. If another position were drafted fifth overall, then it could be argued that the Bengals wouldn't come close to the $28 million marker.
That's why we should also keep our eye on what Aaron Curry negotiates -- the fourth overall draft pick. If Sanchez's deal is in accord to philosophy of Ryan's deal, then the fact he's valued as a franchise-level quarterback could mean that Curry receives less than what Sanchez received. If that's the case, then the Bengals could theoretically wait for Curry's deal before knowing their position on the ceiling.
PFT writes that as of right now, Curry's camp is waiting on defensive end Tyson Jackson to sign. Jackson is represented by Eugene Parker, who also represents Michael Crabtree. Via another PFT post:
Per a league source, agent Eugene Parker is telling the 49ers that Crabtree will sit out the season and re-enter the draft in 2010, unless the team gives Crabtree what he wants.
So. Let's recap. If there's any truth to my total speculation that the Bengals might be waiting on Curry to get a deal and using his contract as the ceiling rather than a franchise-level quarterback, then the Bengals will subsequently wait on Jackson, who is represented by a guy that just threatened to sit out 2009 and reenter the NFL draft next year. Good lord.
Of course, if the Bengals decide to use Curry's deal, provided he'd be of lesser value than Sanchez's, then Keels might have a big problem with that, further prolonging negotiations. See, this is what happens when we don't receive news. We start thinking crap up that's unlikely to happen, but sounds really good to us regardless.
All the while I'm thinking to myself: thank god we didn't draft Crabtree.
For a more broader discussion on rookie signings, go to the FanPost that ephram wrote up.