Even after the Bengals extended the contracts of Andrew Whitworth, Leon Hall and Kyle Cook, they still have a decent amount of money to throw around. They don't have the league's lowest payroll anymore, which is always nice, but it's still near the bottom. It would be nice, and very un-Bengal-like, to see the team throw around even more of the money they have, but aside from making one or two more moves, they're probably done.
According to the mothership's Geoff Hobson, the Bengals are also planning to save some money for three very specific reasons, and I bet you can guess what one of them is right now.
The Bengals are also keeping some cap in reserve for three reasons. Still uncertain of quarterback Carson Palmer's plans, they have said they're going to set aside his $11.5 million salary. It is believed they have also kept a $5.5 million chunk available, which is due right tackle Andre Smith if he plays 45 percent of the snaps and he looks headed that way. Plus, the Bengals always keep cap room available to replace injured players because when a player is on the Opening Day roster he's guaranteed that year's salary.
Setting aside money when you know you're going to use it is smart. I mean I wouldn't write a check for somebody and then run to the ATM to empty my checking account. That would just be dumb. So keeping Smith's $5.5 million and keeping some money set aside to sign free agents in case one of the team's starters gets hurt and they don't feel confident in the backup is smart.
When it comes to the Carson Palmer thing, I understand it, but I don't necessarily agree with it. The team wouldn't need to set aside $11.5 million if they had done the smart thing and traded Palmer in the beginning. The reason I understand it is because I know Mike Brown doesn't want to be forced into a trade by Palmer. If they spend that money and then Palmer comes back, they'd have to trade him. This is how Brown protects himself.
Hopefully the Bengals trade Palmer before the 2012 season, when they may still be able to get something for him, but there's no question that he's worth more now than he will be after sitting out a season. Teams like the Dolphins and 49ers would sure like to have him on their depth chart.
Hopefully, Brown does what's right and makes a trade, but I think we all know that's not going to happen. He's going to hold on to that money just in case Palmer tries to make a move.
The forced team minimums don't start until the 2013 season, which means Brown can hold on to however much money he wants for the next two years.