Negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement has reached a stage in which both sides are nearing an impasse, just before the final stroke to avoid looking like the heel of negotiations; the ones that will be responsible for taking football away from the fans. Though in my simple-minded logic in blue-collar Ohio, does it really matter who is to blame? All we know is that football will be taken away; both sides are to blame.
The problem with both sides extending beyond the March 4 deadline to get a deal done, is that Bengals free agents will remain free agents and the question regarding Johnathan Joseph's likely journey to free agency remains as certain as to the self-answered conclusion to the question, "why is she mad at me?"
Yet, contract negotiations stall to the point of wondering how the CBA will pan out, will there be a salary cap? Will there be a rookie wage scale so the team can pay a little more to their free agents (half of Cincy Jungle readers just coughed up their coffee)?
So if the team doesn't re-sign Joseph, as some would argue even right now, then they could throw Adam Jones in as the starting cornerback opposite of Leon Hall. Excluding the fact we brought forth pretty compelling arguments as to why the Bengals should make every effort to bring Joseph back, Jones is only four months removed from surgery that repaired a herniated neck disk. The cornerback has only recently changed to a soft collar that's allowing him to workout, which should finally be removed by next week.
"I'm going to be ready on the first day, but I don't think I have to hit right away in training camp," he said. "But believe me, at some point in camp I'll find out if I'm healed and I'll be ready. You know me."
It would still be in the Bengals best interests to not let Joseph leave for free agency, if for the sole purpose of avoiding a much deadlier game of negotiations next year when Leon Hall and Jones will have expiring contracts.
Jones isn't letting the injury in his way though and he knows that if Joseph doesn't return, then it's his job to lose.
"I'm looking for a starting job. I'm not looking to be the nickel again," Jones said Tuesday. "If that's what I have to be, that's what I have to be, but I'm going in trying to start."