PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by Pat Sims #90 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game on December 12 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
According to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer, there is some questions where defensive tackle Devon Still "might line up this season." A second-round selection during the 2012 NFL draft, Still is the first of two defensive tackles taken in the first three rounds with Clemson' Brandon Thompson figuring as Domata Peko's backup as nose tackle. Based on our assumptions that Still is stronger as a pass rusher, the most natural spot for Still "figures" as a backup to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins -- something we think that Reedy was hinting towards the end of his posting.
Despite that we have to wonder about Pat Sims. It's not unheard of that the Bengals could keep five defensive tackles, like they did in 2008, but we're not entirely convinced. Cincinnati tends to favor versatile players, someone that can play two spots rather than a single position like Sims is often projected as.
But why would they sign him only to release him? Let's face facts. The one-year deal that Sims signed in early April won't prevent him from being a roster casualty. He has already pocketed his $250,000 signing bonus and he's close (if not already) to his $250,000 workout bonus. With an upcoming roster bonus of $240,000 and a $700,000 base salary, Sims' cap number is roughly $1.44 million. That's more than manageable for the Bengals to absorb.
Some will hint that Domata Peko shouldn't feel safe. But that should be viewed as a highly unlikely scenario. Along with having a cap number well north of $4 million (if not reaching $5 million), Peko is one of (if not the) leaders on defense -- one of the men that brought the players together for offseason workouts during the NFL lockout. However there's a point to be made that overall performance may not prove consistent enough compared to his salary.
Either way the Bengals have questions to ask, especially with their defensive tackle depth.