All of us know someone who does it. They make outrageous claims based on obscure references and totally coincidental occurrences. Quite often it revolves around political agendas, but every so often their minds wander to the sports realm. If you can't identify a buddy of yours who fits this bill, then guess what? It's you.
Though the Cincinnati Bengals are in one of the smaller markets for an NFL franchise, their fan base is a skeptical one. The cynics point to reasons why the team hasn't won a championship since their 1968 inception and often point to reasons how the NFL is rigged against the boys in orange and black. While this offseason has been filled with inactivity, there has been much debate on some of the story lines that have transpired over the past couple of months.
Keep in mind that I personally don't have much basis for these ideas to be founded on. But, when you read the reasoning, you may find yourself seeing these as actual possibilities. This one's for you, you quirky conspiracy theorist--always remember: "The Truth Is Out There".
Marvin Lewis Doesn't Trust Rookie Safeties:
For whatever reason, the Bengals under Marvin Lewis have consistently de-valued the safety position. They haven't invested a first round pick at the position in his tenure and haven't spent higher than a second-rounder. Madieu Williams is and was the lone exception, starting 13 games as a rookie, but was never healthy enough to consistently latch on as a guy that Lewis fully trusted and ultimately left for free agency after his rookie deal expired.
Let's look at the rest of the list: Dexter Jackson, Kim Herring, Ifeanyi Ohalete, Roy Williams, Rogers Beckett, and Chris Crocker have all been leaned on over youngsters drafted in the middle rounds. With the recent signing of Danieal Manning, the trend will seemingly continue and the position probably won't be addressed early in the draft this year. It's an odd conundrum: obviously the trust level in a rookie isn't as high with a lower round pick. Yet, the team won't invest a high pick on a safety to warrant early trust. Go figure.
Departures Of Anthony Collins And Michael Johnson Had More To It Than Meets The Eye:
Most people who follow the Bengals and/or the NFL guessed that Cincinnati's two big free agents that left was about Mike Brown being cheap. He simply didn't shell out enough money to two starters that would help the Bengals' chances of remaining at the top of the AFC North once again. It always comes down to Brown not giving the right players enough money to stay, right? The same thing happened to Johnathan Joseph after the 2010 season, didn't it?
I say no. For starters, we know that Brown and the Bengals at least made competitive offers. They were not only in the same ballpark, but they were just a few rows away from where they supposedly needed to be. There is one facet to the departures of the three above-mentioned players that is getting lost in the shuffle. All three of these players left to go to states that do not have income tax, therefore a similar offer from the Bengals isn't the same amount of money because of the taxes on their salaries. So, in theory, yes the Texans and Buccaneers gave more money to this trio of big-named Bengals free agents, just not in the way that most fans think.
Marvin Lewis Supports Andy Dalton Because It Will Ensure His Job Security:
Say what you will about Mr. Brown, but I personally believe that he has a deep desire to win football games. Doing this strictly his way throughout the 1990s didn't work and he will do what is necessary to keep his team competitive and relevant. Marvin Lewis is Brown's golden child and wants him to stick around, as evidenced by his recent one-year extension.
When we heard Brown's comments on quarterback Andy Dalton, it basically equated to, "meh, we'd like to get a fair deal done, but if not, we'll move on accordingly". Lewis, on the other hand, was unabashed with his praise for Dalton and even got perturbed when similar questions surfaced about Dalton being "the guy" in Cincinnati. Whether they like and realize it or not, Lewis and Dalton have their fates tethered together here in the Queen City.
Dalton and Co. have kept the Bengals competitive and on the cusp of elite. The Red Rifle helps to keep them in the playoff conversation every year, but ironically it's No.14 who is the prime culprit for their chronic one-and-done symptoms. It's quite possible that Lewis knows that his job security is tied to Dalton's ability to keep the Bengals at the level of "good enough" and that's why he's pushing for him to get extended. It very well could be more than just coach speak in support of his embattled quarterback in front of a disgruntled fan base. Conspiracy theorists know that there is always an ulterior motive.
Mike Brown Plans To Let Andy Dalton Leave In 2015 To Help Draft Compensation Formula:
When Bengals fans ask why the team isn't looking at being big players in free agency this year, the newest excuse that was fed to the masses was that of getting a high compensation pick for departed in-house free agents. You see, when big-name players like Collins and Johnson leave, the league eases the blow and allows them to potentially recoup the losses with mid-round picks. If the Bengals were to sign big-name free agents that weren't outright released from a team, it goes into a formula and works against them for a higher pick.
Given the team's success in the mid-rounds, where guys like Collins and Johnson were selected, it makes sense in a warped way. Free agency and the draft are both crap shoots in their own way, and the Bengals prefer to bet on what has been working for them in recent years--the draft. I personally think that you need a healthy dose of each approach, but the front office doesn't agree.
It seems as if Brown is lukewarm on Dalton coming back for big money, as opposed to Lewis' desires to have him back. We have also heard the rumors that Brown preferred Ryan Mallett and even San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick over Dalton on draft day, but his coaching staff won the argument. Losing a starting quarterback in free agency would almost surely net the Bengals the highest draft compensation of a third round pick in 2016 after Dalton's departure. If the Bengals choose a quarterback this and/or next year, this might be Brown's plan all along.