The Cincinnati Bengals still have a significant number under the 2013 salary cap, but the team may account half of that for free agents this year.
Many days, week and a handful of months ago, fans were giddy at the image of the Cincinnati Bengals having filled the Scrooge McDuck money tower with the prospect of purchasing nearly every free agent in existence, including their own, that's expected to hit the market on Monday.
Yet it's not nearly as simple. Nor as gloriously exciting.
Michael Johnson's franchise tag will wipe out over $11 million of the original $55 million and tenders offered to Jeromy Miles, Andrew Hawkins and Vincent Rey, along with extensions signed by Cedric Peerman, Kevin Huber and Clark Harris has reduced the team's number under the 2013 salary cap to $38.3 million, writes Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Now the Bengals can spend.
There's additional money that's already spoken for, with "around $10 million (carried over) to next year" for negotiations with wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton.
Also factor in draft picks, room for players that go on IR and some money just in case those Not Likely to be Earned Incentives become a reality and that's another $9-10 million. In short, we're talking about $18-20 million will be devoted toward free agency either in going after new players or re-signing most of the 20 UFAs who are on the verge of going on the market.
Andre Smith is the popular champion against the Mike Brown regime, but other extensions that need the availability of money includes defensive tackle Geno Atkins and defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
In short, settle down.
In the meantime, teams are currently allowed to speak with agents of players expected to hit the market as unrestricted free agents.