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Antwan Odom's base salary jumps in 2009

The Bengals pass rushing efforts have been well documented, ranging from breaking down schemes to the barroom banter of Biff saying, "it sucks". What's additionally frustrating isn't just that the Bengals were tied with Cleveland as the second-to-worst sack producing defenses; it's the investment the Bengals put into their pass rushers.

In early March, Antwan Odom signed a five-year deal worth $29.5 million, reportedly $11.5 million of it guaranteed. His return investment came in the form of 12 games played, three sacks, and 19 total tackles. Based on momentary investments, he's clearly one of the most disappointing free agents the Bengals have signed in a long time, based on his first season. We also acknowledge that injury caused him to miss time, or play while hurt and that such a word (bust) shouldn't be so freely used when the story has yet to unfold. It's like calling a rookie a bust after eight games.

However, a quick note. Odom's base salary breakdown has significant escalations towards the back of the five-year deal, with only $900,000 handed out this season; basically, $300,000 per sack of his base pay. Next season, that number balloons to $3.4 million. So while his guarantee money can clearly qualify him as a one-year bust, an injury-riddled season where he didn't play at 100% much this year, next season will be critical for Odom -- otherwise, the Bengals will be on the books for $13.2 million over the three years after 2009.

If he has the same output in 2009 as he did in 2008, the Bengals could consider cutting him, based on the history of cutting people that become critical starters for other teams that make the AFC Championship game. Or, maybe they shouldn't hand out expensive contracts to a guy that records a career-high eight sacks the season before, and a career-high 2.0 two seasons before that.