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Chatman visits, Hutchinson deal causes ripples in future linemen talks

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The Bengals confirmed Friday that Antonio Chatman paid a visit.  Cincinnati is interested in Chatman in response to a ridiculous offer (four-year, $6.4 million) sheet from the Houston Texans.

A non-Bengals related news item is slightly drawing my interest though -- Steve Hutchinson.  The Vikings offered the restricted free agent guard a seven-year, $49 million offer the Seahawks are forced to match.  There's a stipulation in the contract that makes the entire $49 million guaranteed if Hutchinson isn't the highest paid of any offensive lineman - it's called the "poison pill".  If he remains the highest paid, the original $16 million is all that's guaranteed.

The increase in guaranteed money is what's in dispute and an arbitrator will hear the case on Monday.

Why is this important?  Eight Cincinnati offensive linemen will be free agents after the 2006 season -- including all five starters.  Only the 2005 rookies, Adam Kieft and Eric Ghiaciuc, are signed past 2006.  A crazy Hutchinson deal could raise the standard of contracts among offensive linemen.  

So, as a Bengals fan, how the Hutchinson deal goes is important to the long-term strength of the Cincinnati Bengals linemen.