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Best argument against tagging Graham, was tagging no one; potential suitors for Houshmandzadeh; Benson is top priority

+ Sometimes you just have to spin things. Bleacher Report calls franchising Shayne Graham a mistake. As to their reasoning, well, that's not really clear. For instance:

They have bigger things to worry about than a kicker. They should have signed him to a long-term deal and made that that.

What "worry" could they have addressed with the Franchise Tag? Running back? Maybe. Wide Receiver? Probably. In truth, the tag is a resource the team used to get Graham signed to a long-term deal without the interference of other teams inflating the cost.

I know T.J. Houshmandzadeh has said he would sit out if they tagged him, but that's a load of crap. He would play if he wanted to go to another team.

Who else said they wouldn't play last year? It was Chad Johnson. Did he sit out? No.

This is misrepresented. First off, Houshmandzadeh never said that he would sit. He said that he wouldn't show up for camps; which he hadn't done the two previous seasons because he believed he was underpaid. Johnson was under contract and he wanted to leave town; which is partly suggested that he wanted a contract extension. He didn't sit because of some agreement between the team and receiver that the Bengals will look into a contract extension after the season -- provided he's on good behavior and performs at his typical level. Houshmandzadeh is NOT under contract. Even if he's franchised, he's not under contract until he signs the tender.

Houshmandzadeh desperately wants to go, threatens World War Three if he was tagged. The cost of keeping Houshmandzadeh was nearly $10 million against the Salary cap. Yes, I'm going to use the money argument now that some people refuse to acknowledge. If you include the $5-6 million in the rookie pool, the $2-3 million for injuries, and other things, the Bengals would have their $28 million cap reduced to between $9-11 million.

Folks, the biggest issue facing the Bengals is their depth. Keeping one wide receiver around, while Keith Rivers, Dhani Jones, Jim Maxwell and Abdul Hodge are the only linebackers signed for 2009 will eventually hurt the ability to sign free agents (both restricted and unrestricted) and thus keep our depth was one of the league's worst.

Hopefully you see the logic that if tagging Houshmandzadeh, you possibly hurt the other things that the team has to worry about.

They could have used the tag on Cedric Benson, who showed potential, or Chris Crocker, who was doing a great job at safety last season.

Sure. Either one of them would have cost over $6 million. While I'm grateful of what Benson and Crocker did, and while I think the Bengals should make every effort to sign them both, the fact remains that they were unemployed when the Bengals signed them. How can you go from off the street, to franchise, in less than a full season? This argument is best served by saying that the Bengals should have shelved the Franchise Tag.

A big example is Madieu Williams. They'd rather keep the convict on their team than re-sign the talent that's already there. Don't get your hopes up Bengals' fans. It looks like the beginning of another bad season for the men in stripes.

Williams was gone no matter what, expecting and receiving one of the bigger deals for a safety while the Bengals were still figuring a way around heavy contracts with Willie Anderson, Levi Jones and Rudi Johnson.

The best argument made here, one that I subscribe to, is that the Bengals should have left the Franchise Tag on the table.

+ A wise objective. If the Bengals are unable to sign Cedric Benson, maybe there's a chance the team could go after players like Deuce McAllister or Fred Taylor. However, the Bengals are making Benson their top priority and they should, if for anything strength at the position. As it stands, the Bengals have Kenny Watson, Chris Perry, and James Johnson under contract for 2009.

Some make the argument that Benson should have been the one franchised. While I respect the argument, and it does make sense, I didn't agree with it, mostly because of cost relative to a short-span of production. Historically, he hasn't produced much and found relative later with the Bengals. In other words, we could just as likely have another Justin Smith situation on our hands. We just don't know. He was a beacon during a dreadful season, but that's hardly a reason to Franchise him simply because we can franchise someone.

+ Speculating where Houshmandzadeh will land. Adam Schefter points out that six teams need receivers: the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins or Philadelphia Eagles. Now, if you base on Houshmandzadeh's "I just want to win" argument, you could probably reduce that to teams that made the playoffs last season, such as the Eagles, Titans, Ravens and Dolphins.

More.

There's a split among the writers at WDR regarding the team's decision to franchise Shayne Graham. One suggests that it's not really a big deal (and makes great points), while another calls it the "latest dumbest move ever" saying that a "kickers true value comes from the distance on their kickoffs."

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