As Jason pointed out in a FanPost on Wednesday, the Bengals will be forced to make a decision on Andre Smith within the next month. By passing on an option that would extend his contract through 2014, Smith's deal would essentially become a four-year deal worth $26 million through 2012. If the team triggers the option, Smith's contract would be a six-year deal worth $42 million. No matter what happens, Smith would receive $21 million in guaranteed money.
Now according to Geoff Hobson, the team isn't expected to do anything. At least not for now. And it's not hard to understand why. Smith has missed 19 of 32 games during the first two seasons of his NFL career, having multiple foot surgeries during that span. So it's not hard to figure out why the Bengals would be hesitant to commit to Smith longer than they have to. And we can't fault them on that.
And when Smith has played, he's easily the worst offensive lineman on the team, according to Pro Football Focus (actually, he graded as the worst offensive player on the team). With a score of -18.0, only 16 offensive tackles graded worse than Smith in the NFL last year. Yet, as ironies go, Eugene Monroe (-15.6) and Jason Smith (-16.7), two tackles drafted in the first round the same year that the Bengals drafted Smith, haven't been that much better, grading as better pass blockers than rush blockers -- though not by much. Of the top four tackles selected that year in the first round, Baltimore's Michael Oher graded out at -10.8. The grading system is tough on tackles though, with only 22 offensive tackles having a positive grade.
Comparatively speaking, Andrew Whitworth graded out as the league's best offensive tackle with a score of 24.6.