The starting right tackle will be a free agent is less than two weeks and teams are clearly keeping Andre Smith's first two seasons in the back of their minds.
The endless parade of Cincinnati Bengals free agents featuring stories on two players tends to get tiresome. Michael Johnson was slapped with the franchise tag, giving him a one-year deal worth over $11 million once he signs the contract. Andre Smith wants money in the neighborhood of $9 million per season, though some teams would be extremely hesitant to give the starting right tackle that kind of money.
Peter King with Sports Illustrated writes that he spoke with "several teams scared of Smith."
They remember his weight problems early in his Cincinnati tenure, and they fear what a big signing bonus would do to his desire.
Though Bengals fans may idly wonder why teams would be that concerned after a pair of productive seasons since 2011, outside perspective clearly identifies Smith's opening two seasons as a significant factor when weighing options with him. The questionable workout habits, weight issues and injuries changed over time to a focused determination, becoming one of the game's best run blocking right tackles. Teams understandably call Smith a risk with the generic "contract year" argument, though many around the team (front office, coaches, fans) believe Smith's change is far more long-term.
Regardless it's interesting how teams that could participate in negotiations on Smith view the fifth-year tackle.