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Steinbach likely gone, AOL Fanhouse writer struggles to make logic point

I admit, I easily get confused when beat reporters contradict each other. It's not they are contradicting themselves, just each other. Makes for good fodder. Chick Ludwig said earlier in the month, "keeping the veteran left guard — who becomes a free agent in March — is the club's top priority." Maybe that's true and negotiations went from hopeful to pointless.

Mark Curnutte says point blank:

Eric Steinbach, the Bengals' starting left guard the past four years, is expected to sign with another team. He does not fit into Cincinnati's budget. Second-year lineman Andrew Whitworth will be the starting left guard.

Mark Curnutte said days ago about Eric Steinbach: "There are questions inside the organization about Steinbach's ability to block big defensive tackles."

Steinbach and the team, during the last off-season, agreed to the length of the contract, but not the money. No deal was made .But as the days count down to the start of free agency, re-signing Steinbach looks less and less likely.

Moving on...

I've never claimed to be very smart. But I didn't understand the logic in Michael David Smith's latest piece. In fact, I failed to understand the point. He claims that free agents that are franchised should fire their agents. Why? Because the agents didn't earn their take. Once you fire your agent, Smith says, go ahead and sign the one-year deal and enter free agency the next season.

Here's franchise tagging 101. In most cases, tagging a player isn't the end of negotiations. In most cases, agents are working harder to get a long-term deal. The team wants a long-term deal to prevent outrageous cap prices. If you fire your agent and sign the one-year contract, you lose your chance at a long-term deal -- because there's a deadline that doesn't allow franchise players to sign long-term (yes, that's just dumb). Sure, you can enter free agency the following season -- provided you have another career year and remain healthy. If you don't have a career year, or a year simliar to the one you just had, then the money starts to dwindle. And there's no guarantee you won't get tagged again. So, go ahead and fire your agent and trust that you have a great year with no injuries. Go ahead. I'm sure you'll get the same deal if you entered free agency the year before -- provided nothing goes wrong. And nothing goes wrong in the NFL. Ever.

Franchise tags were once used to keep your best players. They are used more liberally these days. I haven't met a person that believes Smith is a top-five defensive end. However, a majority agree that losing Smith would severely hurt the defensive line. It's likely you won't find a replacement in free agency and depending on the draft is too risky. To keep the stability of the defensive line, the Bengals believed they needed to tag Smith. I don't have a problem with Smith returning. But I don't believe he's a franchise player either.

Smith, in a piece about Andy Reid's personal issues , says: ..."here's the part of the story that I don't think has gotten enough attention: Garrett Reid has also admitted that he used steroids, and steroids were found in his Jeep. Isn't it pretty big news that Andy Reid's son was using steroids?"

He follows: "I think the steroids-in-sports story has been overplayed in the last couple of years after several years of being underplayed." Not only does he believe that steroids in sports are overplayed, but makes the point that steroids with Reid's son hasn't "gotten enough attention."

Smith earlier made the point that the team should cut Chris Henry but says, the team can't because of the CBA.

Like I said, I never claimed to be smart. But at least I know I'm not at the bottom of the heap.