FanPost

Offseason plan with salary cap UPDATE 3/11/12

UPDATE 3/16/12: Updated for free agent signings. Also, additional $1.6M in cap room from Redskins/Cowboys penalty is now being taken in 2013.

I previously detailed a plan on how to shape our roster for 2012 given our salary cap room. With the cap for 2012 announced at $120.6M and our carryover of $15M and credits of $0.565M, the Bengals have $51.6M in cap room. Here is the tweaked plan with the new information in mind:

Holes on the 2012 roster:
Starters: WR, both OG positions, RB, SLB, FS, K, possibly CB (depending upon Leon Hall's health)
Reserves: WE, both DT positions, DE, CB

Players resigned (with 2012 cap budget and rank amongst position cap):
K Mike Nugent ($2.65M, 13th) designated franchise player
DT Jonathan Fanene ($3.5M, 33rd) signed by NE, 3yrs $4.0M avg, $3.8M guar
DE Frostee Rucker ($3M, 36th) signed by CLE, 5yrs $4.2M avg, $8M guar
SLB Manny Lawson ($3.75M, 45th, low participation and lack of sacks keeps his value low)
FS Reggie Nelson ($4.5M, 15th) resigned 4yrs, $4.5M avg, $4.625M cap hit 2012
TE Donald Lee or Bo Scaife ($0.6M, 32nd, veteran minimum benefit contract)
CB Kelly Jennings or Adam Jones ($2M, 45th) instead signed Jason Allen 2yrs, $8.2M, est $4.25M cap hit 2012
RFAs LB Dan Skuta, LS Clark Harris ($1.26M each); FB Chris Pressley (resigned 2yr deal, cap hit unknown but likely less than $1M)

UFA options (with cap budget and rank amongst position cap):
WR ($4-5M = top 16-25): Robert Meachem (SD, 4yr-$6.48avg-$14SB), Mario Manningham, Pierre Garcon (WAS, 5yr-$8.5Mavg-$13.1SB); cheaper options: Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Chaz Schilens
RB ($5-6M = top 9-10): Michael Bush, Mike Tolbert; cheaper options: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Tim Hightower
Rotation DE/DT ($3.5-4M = top 30-33): Kendall Langford, Jason Jones, Derek Landri, Gary Gibson, Jamaal Anderson, Andre Fluellen

Players released (cap savings):
S Chris Crocker (-$2M, production has really dropped off)
DE Robert Geathers (-$4.4M, likely keep him due to loss of Rucker and Fanene)
note: LB Keith Rivers' cap value is the same on the team as it would be if he were released, so I don't expect the team to make this move since it paid him his full salary last year despite being classified as NFI (maybe tit-for-tat reworked contract in his future?)

Draft:
1-17 CB Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama (insurance for Leon Hall, sees the field in nickel package with Clements playing slot)
1-21 OG Cordy Glenn Georgia (immediate starter at LG; future RT?)
2-53 SS Harrison Smith Notre Dame (could start opposite Reggie Nelson)
3-84 OG Brandon Brooks Miami (Ohio) (battles with Otis Hudson for RG spot)
4-119 WR Greg Childs Arkansas (fully recovered from knee injury)
5-154 RB Dan Herron Ohio State (joins "RB by committee")
5-165 DE Jack Crawford Penn State
6-194 CB Asa Jackson Cal Poly
7-229 DT Vaughn Meatoga Hawaii
Total rookie cap should be around $6.5M

With the pre-draft signings in place, we would have a Top 51 cap of $112.4M. The $6.5M of draft signings would not add directly to this number since the Top 51 rule still applies. But expect the final cap room to be around $19.1M.

I would expect the team to use some of that remaining space to extend players already under contract. Candidates include OT Andre Smith, LB Thomas Howard, DE Michael Johnson, LB Rey Maualuga, and P Kevin Huber. The team has only 30 players under contract at around $46M leaving the team in nearly the situation as it faces in 2012.

The side benefit of this free agency plan is that the Bengals might again be eligible for a compensatory pick in the 2013 draft. I would expect DT Pat Sims, RB Cedric Benson and OT Anthony Collins to all land qualifying contracts so at minimum we'd gain a net-value 7th round comp pick. Not too exciting but one more chip for the long-term plan.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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