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NFL Owners could opt out of CBA and Bengals could look for new center

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During his break down of the team's positions, Mark Curnutte had this little nugget when examining the offensive line. "Word is emerging that Ghiaciuc might be too small to withstand the unrelenting push from huge defensive tackles." I can't say I was overwhelmed by Ghiaciuc's performances. Many of Rudi Johnson's efforts were spent trying to avoid a defender in the backfield that blew up the middle. At times, Ghiaciuc was struggling to hold the line of scrimmage being driven into the backfield.

I would be surprised if the Bengals didn't address the center spot this off-season either through the draft or free agency. It doesn't seem there's a prominent center coming out of free agency that the Bengals would pursue. On the Clock Draft -- a web site dedicated towards scouting incoming players from college -- ranks Steve Justice (Wake Forest), Mike Pollack (Arizona State) and Kory Lichtensteiger (Bowling Green) as the draft's top three centers.

I think the Bengals should look to address the center spot this off-season and keep Ghiaciuc as a backup.

In other news, Albert Haynesworth, arguably the best available free agent, is looking for a long-term contract. He's likely looking for a major payday -- when a player receives the majority of the money he'll earn in his career. In that assumption it's unlikely the Bengals, even though they're over $30 million under the cap, will put their hat into the running.

In other news, there's a real possibility that NFL owners could opt out of the current Collective-Bargaining Agreement making 2009 the last capped season.

The NFL averted a labor war 2 years ago when outgoing commissioner Paul Tagliabue strong-armed the owners into agreeing to a collective-bargaining- agreement extension that gave the players 60 percent of the league's pot of gold. The owners can opt out of the deal in November, which seems almost a certainty right now. If that happens, 2009 would be the last capped year of the current agreement. There would be no salary cap in 2010, but the service requirement for free agency would jump from 4 to 6 years. "I think it's really common knowledge our last labor agreement is not our smartest move," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen told Jeff Legwold, of the Rocky Mountain News. "And I'm not talking about [just] the Denver Broncos. I'm talking about the [whole] league. We can't live with this deal."

Why is this amusing? Because Mike Brown was one of two -- Bills owner Ralph Wilson was the other -- that voted against the revenue-sharing plan. He wasn't described with endearing remarks from the media or his contemporaries because the last-second vote avoided a potential work-stoppage. In the end, it seems that it wasn't necessarily avoided -- just pushed back to another day. There's time for a new one. But somehow it seems the league will either wait until the last second or the owners will go ahead with a stoppage to get the deal they feel is right for them. And you get the feeling that the owners vision of a deal is a long way from the player's vision. Billionaires versus millionaires. Fun.