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Playing Devil's Advocate: Why tagging Houshmandzadeh could have consequences

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Franchising T.J. Houshmandzadeh is the only way we retain him. However, is the move logical? For instance, Houshmandzadeh is making it very clear with radio stations in other markets that he has no intention of coming back to Cincinnati on his own -- of course, without saying those words, but we're not stupid; we can tell when someone doesn't want to be somewhere. He's vehemently opposed about a potential $9.88 million franchise tag -- if you're one of the 7.6% unemployed in America, how does that make you feel?

However, let's assume for a minute the Bengals slap the franchise tag on Houshmandzadeh -- and assuming Houshmandzadeh signs -- what next? Everything is peachy like five-second contract negotiations in Madden 2009? Truth be told, signing Houshmandzadeh as a franchise player could be a risky proposition. None of us here believe that Houshmandzadeh is willing to continue his career in Cincinnati -- he's going to follow the money to the best team available hoping for the best of both worlds. And keeping Houshmandzadeh as the franchise player makes the most sense if the Bengals are gearing up for a 2009 Championship run -- which in reality, they're not ready for. Truth be told (twice I've said that), Houshmandzadeh in Cincinnati isn't going to single-handedly make or break a post-season run. He's a hell of a ball-player; however with him, the Bengals haven't won a playoff game so there's no real reason to believe that he'll do that this season while disgruntled as the Franchise player. Furthermore, it stunts the development of our younger receivers which keeps "project" attached to Jerome Simpson's name.

What about trading him after tagging him? This is based on the assumption that other teams are willing to blindly submit to the theory. In truth, if the Bengals franchise him, teams would be asked to sacrifice at least one first round draft pick, as well as a third or fourth this year and/or next -- oh, plus sign him to a long-term deal so they could lower the cap hit on the 2009 season. There's a lot to sacrifice for a 31-year old possession receiver, and it's why you don't often see franchise players traded. Ask yourself this. The last franchise player traded was Jared Allen, who the Vikings gave a first, two thirds and a swap of sixth round picks for. Do you believe Houshmandzadeh could command nearly that much?

If you believe that the Bengals could tag Houshmandzadeh and work a trade, then you have way more faith than I do in their negotiation skills. If no suitors are found, then what? Another pissed off receiver? No, thanks.

Hopefully, you're following my point. In no way am I saying that Houshmandzadeh is terrible; he's one of the best possession receivers in the league. In no way am I saying that it's Houshmandzadeh's responsibility to get the Bengals into the playoffs. What I am saying is that franchising Houshmandzadeh, without any realistic shot at signing him to a long term deal, could be argued as not being a logical move. On the other hand, if the Bengals build up a team expected to make a playoff run, then franchising Houshmandzadeh makes all the sense in the world.

Moving on.

WhoDeyFans make a great point. Even though the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl, they've fired their defensive coordinator anyway. Yesterday, they fired their quarterback's coach, Jeff Rutledge. Bengals go 4-11-1 and leave all coaches in tact.

John Thornton makes an argument against drafting a tackle with the sixth pick -- and I'm giddy he argued against drafting a wide receiver.

Cedric Benson and Chris Crocker are open to returning to Cincinnati -- however, they're also likely to test the free agency market. Said Crocker, "Once the 27th hits, I'm not going to wait. I'm signing in the first 24 hours. After that, the money starts drying up quick and it only goes lower. I'm going to be patient (before free agency)."

It took the National Football Post until February 11 to "learn of the tender amounts for 2009 Restricted Free Agents." We knew about this last weekend. (yes, I'm gloating)

The top-four offensive tackles that we've mentioned on this site, will be at the NFL Combine.

The Bengals will play a charity basketball game on March 14. Hopefully those clowns that get off on calling our boys criminals will acknowledge their work in the community.

CiN Weekly is looking for people to send in videos to hype up Cincinnati. There's a lot of prizes if you win.