We reported late last week that the Bengals, along with the other NFL teams, would have a 72-hour window to re-sign their free agents once the lockout is lifted. That's still true, if the players sign off on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, like most believe they will, on Saturday, the team would have three days to re-sign Johnathan Joseph, Cedric Benson and Brandon Johnson before they could sign elsewhere.
When the CBA is finalized, the Bengals will have three days to re-sign Johnathan Joseph before he can sign with another team, but the fact that other teams can talk to Joseph in that three-day window. This will complicate things for the Bengals, especially when it comes to re-signing Joseph.
The Bengals were already probably going to have a hard enough time re-signing their talented cornerback before we knew that other teams would be able to talk to him within the Bengals' 72-hour window, but now that we know that other teams can interfere with a possible contract negotiation, re-signing Joseph seems to be even more of an uphill battle.
The Bengals are going to have to come at Joseph with some big numbers right away to sign him once the lockout is lifted. If other teams are whispering in his ear as the Bengals lowball him (you know they will), Joseph is as good as gone. The only way to keep the Johnathan Joseph-Leon Hall duo together in 2011 and beyond is to come at Joseph with an offer he can't turn down once the lockout is lifted before the other teams start trying to reel him in.