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Derrick Ward to visit Tampa Bay on Tuesday; is Cincinnati out of the running or is Ward using us at leverage?

With our focus on updates for T.J. Houshmandzadeh (we'll move that post back to the front when there's another update), we're not forgetting about another primary story with the Bengals in contention for free agent running back, Derrick Ward; whom several sites call the best available running back available.

Our guess on the situation is this. Ward left Cincinnati for Denver without signing a deal -- and there's still no word on if a deal was offered (unless we missed it). Then, this morning, we learned that Ward is looking for Michael Turner money; six-year $34.5 million, $15 million guaranteed. So our basic educated guess is that while Cincinnati is in "contention" by the known facts, the Bengals are all but out of the running. We assume that Ward at this point is using Cincinnati as leverage to gain a better deal with another team.

While that assumption of leverage is presumably with Denver, Ward is still pushing for other teams to negotiate with. PFT writes that a "league source" told them that Ward will make a visit in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. So if you expected any announcement to come on Ward, it won't be until the middle of the week. But if we were to make a guess, we think that Cincinnati is very unlikely to score the, reportedly, best running back in free agency. Seems like Warren Sapp all over again.