The Bengals and Andre Smith are still at a stalemate as the talented right tackle still remains a free agent. The window is closing, though, on the Bengals re-signing Smith, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.
As one league source explains it, the Bengals are now inclined to see if they can find a cheaper and younger replacement for Smith via the draft. If the Bengals can, they'll possibly pull the plug on efforts to re-sign Smith, a first-round pick in 2009.
According to Florio, the Bengals know they can draft a right tackle and, thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they would pay that new tackle a fraction of the money it would cost to re-sign Smith. This is obviously a problem for Smith because he doesn't seem to have other suitors on the market. According to Florio, Smith is still asking for too much money and teams are worried that if they pay him, he'll underperform, which was a concern scouts had when he was entering the draft in 2009.
It seems that the Bengals will either re-sign Smith at a price they seem fit or they'll use their first-round pick on a new right tackle, possible Alabama's D.J. Fluker.
Smith was the team's best overall offensive lineman in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus. He improved both as a run blocker and pass protector. However, he has also barely cracked the surface of what the Bengals expected out of their sixth overall pick in the '09 NFL draft.
The draft is only a couple weeks away and if they haven't re-signed Smith by then, there's a decent chance that they'll decide to move on with another tackle.