On March 4, 2009, wide receiver Laveranues Coles signed a four-year deal worth $27.5 million. And $7.7 million ($3 million signing bonus and $4.7 million roster bonus) of his $9.75 million were dished out the first year of that contract. There's question if Coles will be around this season. Salary cap penalties are no longer a worry and Coles had just turned 32 last December. Furthermore, Coles' base salary in 2009 was only $1.9 million. But that number increases in 2010 to $4.6 million, $6.4 million in 2011 and 2012.
When asked about Coles in an interview with Bengals.com's head writer Geoff Hobson, Marvin Lewis said:
He came in and has been the pro we expected him to be. He was productive. He made some big catches. Big touchdown catches. He blocked great. Great leader in the receiver room. He took what was a rocky situation and smoothed it right out.
GH: He had some drops.
ML: In the first game. He came in and apologized. He said it was the worst game he’s ever played. I told him, Laveranues, no free agent comes to a new team and lights it up right away. He brought stability to the position, was a role model and leader for the guys, and a great friend for Chad (Ochocinco). His stability made that a very strong room and that’s not overlooked.
Past tense. Past tense. Past tense. Now it's unlikely that the Bengals will release Coles before the NFL Draft, simply because they have to see who (if anyone) they acquire during free agency and the draft. Even though Coles is due a $100,000 roster bonus this year, it's unlikely that the cost will convince the Bengals from releasing Coles before the deadline in which the bonus is due. We have little inside information on this, but it does make you wonder with Lewis strictly talking in past tense when reflecting Coles.