+ B. Clifton Burke writes that Dhani Jones could be cut, because he's old and expendable, giving way to a core of younger linebackers. I understand the point of view; this time of year speculation grows about possible veteran cuts. However, the logic to cut Jones is paper thin compared to the reasoning to keep. First of all, he's on the cheap; scheduled to earn $1.2 million in 2009 and $1.25 million in 2010. Second of all, you don't cut the guy that led your team with 165 tackles (53 more than the second-ranked guy), and led the team in forced fumbles. Heck, he made tackles on special teams.
Finally, there is a misconception that the Bengals have a collection of young linebackers. In truth, if you include the unsigned Rey Maualuga, the Bengals will have four linebackers under contract -- and one of them is named Dan Skuta -- in 2010. If a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed, and the years of service criteria defines free agents, Rashad Jeanty and Brandon Johnson will be unrestricted -- one, if not both, are gone. If no new CBA is signed, then both players will be restricted free agents again.
The point is that if you cut Jones, you hurt your depth this year and beyond. There's no financial benefit to cutting him -- which is the reasoning behind most player releases. Furthermore, the coaches look to Jones to keep the defense motoring, while Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer raves about him.
“Dhani’s sharp. He handles everything pretty quickly,” Zimmer said. “He tells guys where to line up. He knows the checks. He knows what everybody does on the defense. It’s really nice having a guy like that.”
Marvin Lewis called Jones an extension of Zimmer.
"They've got the same very hard-headed personalities," Lewis said after Friday's second practice. "That's why when they disagree, it's hilarious. It's a matter of how long does it take for Dhani to back down and Zimmer to pull rank."
There's always speculation on veteran cuts this time of year. The age argument often works with veteran players -- but not with Jones. Not right now.
Dave reads the Chickster the riot act.
Brian Leonard thinks that Cincinnati will be a great fit for his skills.
"I'm kind of like a hybrid back, so the team really needs to know how to use me," Leonard said. "I guess St. Louis didn't feel like they could use me, with the kind of skills I had. But Cincinnati is a great fit."
Cincinnati will have a physical secondary, with added experience.
Training Camp is becoming more of an event for fans (do you agree?)
Joe Reedy guesses the depth chart.