While most of the country was watching the creepiest episode to date of The Walking Dead or making Monday preparations before bed, offensive tackle Jake Long signed a four-year deal worth $34 million with $20 million guaranteed and an additional $2 million possible through incentives with the St. Louis Rams. The Miami Dolphins were reportedly offering something in the neighborhood of $8 million per season (the Rams signed him to $8.5 million per season) while even the Pittsburgh Steelers made a run, arguing postseason opportunities compared to those teams. In the end it was all about money -- keep that in mind.
One single report last month suggested that Andre Smith was looking for something in the neighborhood of $9 million per season. It would be the highest average amount signed among offensive tackles with new deals during free agency. Below is the top free agent signings at offensive tackle.
Note that Gosder Cherilus' and Phil Loadholt's deals, as right tackles, ranges from $6 million to $7 million per season. We're not going to sit here and pretend to know what Smith will or should sign, based on existing deals in relation to positions played; we'll just point out the facts on the ground. But we figure those are solid starting points to base one's conjecture. Though we get the feeling that the difference in recent deals between left and right tackles is closing quickly.
With Ben Dogra finishing the deal with Long, it should re-establish and finalize negotiations between Andre Smith and the Cincinnati Bengals. Writes Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com:
The hope is that the Bengals can hook up here this week with Smith's agent, Ben Dogra, also the agent for Newman.
"The players are getting anxious. Hopefully these things will get put to rest the next couple of days," Lewis said.
Cincinnati identifies Smith and cornerback Terence Newman as two of their top priorities, while Adam Jones and Rey Maualuga are close to returning (because they apparently have agents with decent multi-tasking skills).
A danger now that Long was removed from the market, is sudden interest in Smith from around the league. Armando Salguero with the Miami Herald suggests that Smith could generate interest in Miami after the Dolphins lost out on Long; though Salguero called Smith a left tackle.
At least the Bengals have options. Anthony Collins, currently a backup on the offensive line, has experience as a spot starter throughout five-year career. Cincinnati could look at someone like free agent Eric Winston, recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Most likely they'd use one of their three selections within the top 54 picks to draft a prospect.