Mike Brown was hovering over my head. "I've seen the ghost of Christmas future my boy and it was terrifying but I'm a new man now. I realize that I can't pass through the eye of that needle unless I empty my pockets and give to the city of Cincinnati." So I became GM for the 2013 season and was granted carte blanche to spend the full amount of the salary cap if I saw fit.
Mr. Brown, I said: here's a list showing what we'll do to bring the people of Cincinnati a Super Bowl ring:
Part One - Free Agency
2013 Bengals Salary Cap: $131 Million
Current Available Cap Space: $54 Million
Player Subtractions (+$7.8 Mil): J. Allen (+4.1 Mil), J. Anderson (+2.7 Mil), R. Geathers (NA), M. Lawson (NA), D. Knapp (+0.4 Mil), R. Whalen (+0.6 Mil), B. Leonard (NA), B. Scott (NA), K. Roland (NA), N.Clements (NA)
New Contracts (-37.2 Mil) (: M. Johnson (8.5 Mil: 4 yrs. $34 Mil), A. Smith (9.0 Mil: franchised), W. Gilberry (3.3 Mil: 3 yrs. $10 Mil), T. Howard (2.8 Mil: 2 yrs. $5.6Mil), D. Skuta (1.5 Mil, 2 yrs. $3.0 Mil), P. Sims (2.0 Mil: 2 yrs. 4.0 Mil), A. Jones (3.5 Mil: 3 yrs. 10.5 Mil), T. Newman (1.5 Mil: 1 yr. 1.5Mil), J. Miles (0.8 Mil: 2 yrs. 1.6Mil), J. Brown (1.5 Mil: 3 yrs. 4.5 Mil), K. Huber (1.3 Mil: 3 yrs. 3.9 MIl), C. Crocker (1.5 Mil: 1 yr. 1.5 Mil).
Revised Available Cap Space: $24.6 Million
Rookie and UDFA Contracts: ($6.0 Million)
Unlikely Free Agent Signings (Players Expected to Re-Sign with Own Team).: ILB Dannell Ellerbe ($6.7 Mil; 3 yrs. $20 Mil), S Jairus Byrd ($7.5 Mil: 4 yrs. 30 Mil).
Cap Space to Carry Forward to 2014 (Based on Likely FA Signings): $4.1 Million
Positions Addressed through FA: Starting SAM LB, Nickel CB, and SS.
Starting Positions Needing to Be Addressed in Draft: RB (Committee), C (Possible Upgrade), LT/RT (LT - Possible Upgrade / RT - Possible starter in 2014),
Backup Positions Needing to Be Addressed in Draft: DE (Rotational), OLB (Possible Upgrade over Moch or Joiner), ILB (Possible Upgrade over Skuta), S (Possible Upgrade over Iloka, Sands, Mays or Miles), CB (Possible Upgrade over Prater)
Draft Options (Based on BPA and Need in Order of Preference if Same Position Not Picked in Earlier Round)
Note: Players only included if deemed to have at least a 25% chance of being available when Bengals pick
Round 1: OT Lane Johnson, WR Cordarelle Patterson, CB Desmond Trufant, WR / KR Tavon Austin, WR Keenan Allen, CB Xavier Rhodes, DE Alex Okafor
Round 2a: WR DeAndre Hopkins, RB Gio Bernard, OT Kyle Long, OLB Alec Ogletree, DE Sam Montgomery, CB Johnathan Banks, ILB Kevin Minter, S Jonathan Cyprien
Round 2b: RB Jonathan Franklin, C Travis Frederick, C Barrett Jones, OLB Khaseem Greene, OLB Sean Porter, S Eric Reed, S Matt Elam
Round 3: C Brian Schwenke, RB Christine Michael, DE Margus Hunt, OLB Sio Moore, CB David Amerson, S D.J. Swearinger, S Bacari Rambo,
Rounds 4-7: BPA Depending on Positional Needs
Then I awoke and realized it was just a dream. It would be another season of sorting through other teams' free agency scraps, counting the future value of money saved, and spending as little as possible. I watched Mr. Brown's pockets shrink up as he slowly faded from my view, shouting to me: "in 3 more years, sonny, I'm gonna sell the team, after I line my pockets with cap savings. Oh it's so good to have money, money, money!"