Much happens throughout the course of a standard week in the NFL, even during moments with red-hued eyes obsessively staring at the slow refresh of computer screens for news that instantly changes a team's perceived game-plan. Though we at Cincy Jungle try to ensure that you have some freedom to step away, the actionable news that comes across our desks is relatively minor to the amount of time in a day. But we soldier on.
Where are we today?
+ NO UPDATE ON ANDRE SMITH: Cincinnati's top-targeted free agent Andre Smith remains an unrestricted free agent. Though many insiders have suggested that Smith will return, there's always the possibility another team arrives from nowhere to lay claim on the offensive tackle.
The New England Patriots recently agreed to terms with Sebastian Vollmer, whose departure from free agency may accelerate negotiations with Smith. However much like Smith, Vollmer wasn't generated significant interest on the market. Teams are believed to be slightly hesitant on Smith, who some cite with questionable work ethics. Hall of Famer and Bengals legend Anthony Munoz questioned during an interview with Mo Egger how Smith could be rated as high as he was.
"Thank god I wasn't driving 71 in traffic when I heard that some publications have Andre Smith listed as the No. 1 right tackle," Munoz said. "Maybe I don't know a whole lot about offensive line. They're talking $8-$10 million for that guy? OK."
We get the feeling that along with Ben Dogra's supposed negotiation with Jake Long, that the Bengals view Smith somewhat similarly, which has basically set the stage for a World War I style of trench warfare.
+ MORE WAITING ON TERENCE NEWMAN: Though initially saying that he had planned to make a decision by Friday, news on the Terence Newman front remains quiet. Currently the decision is down to the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.
We're fairly confident, though based on our own subjective conclusions, that Newman was offered a multi-year deal in Oakland, but only a one-year deal in Cincinnati. Does Newman want something long-term, even if it's adding another year in Oakland or does he want to put his chips on a Bengals team that's increasingly favored in the AFC North?
+ CLOSING THE HOWARD FILE.. FOR NOW: Keeping our attention on linebacker Thomas Howard in recent weeks, it's clear that the linebacker isn't generating much interest in free agency and that his repaired ACL is forcing teams to momentarily pause.
It's entirely possible (and maybe even likely) that Howard remains an unrestricted free agent until after the NFL draft when teams reexamine their roster, needing to fill further gaps that weren't applied during the NFL draft. In other words, what sense does it make to sign Howard if you're going into the NFL draft with the intention of selecting a weak-side linebacker? It makes more sense to wait until afterwards.