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Rams Ultimatum On Jason Smith Offers Reminders Of The 2009 NFL Draft

It's not hard to recall the 2009 NFL Draft. Carson Palmer, ironically remembered for the bloody nose during the preseason, suffered an eventual season-ending elbow injury against the New York Giants. Ryan Fitzpatrick, his replacement, was under constant pressure due to poor pass protection -- a lot of which was Fitzpatrick's own fault for shuffling endlessly in the pocket. Stacy Andrews, who gave up ten quarterback sacks that year, and Levi Jones (adding another six quarterback sacks) were the team's offensive tackles while Andrew Whitworth and his four quarterback sacks allowed played left guard when Jones was actually healthy enough to play.

The Bengals didn't bother bringing Andrews back, who played his final year with the franchise tag, eventually signing a six-year deal worth $38.9 million with the Philadelphia Eagles. Cincinnati released Levi Jones, who would go on to start eight games with the Washington Redskins in 2009 before retiring from the NFL after a series of knee injuries that he couldn't recover from.

During the months leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals were expected to take an offensive tackle. The favorites were down to Baylor's Jason Smith, Alabama's Andre Smith, Mississippi's Michael Oher and Virginia's Eugene Monroe.

All four went in the first round.

Jason Smith was selected second overall by the St. Louis Rams, Andre Smith (6th overall) went to Cincinnati, Eugene Monroe (8th overall) went to Jacksonville and Oher fell to 23rd to Baltimore.

The following is a breakdown per season according to the grades handed out by Pro Football Focus.
Starts PFF (2009) (2010) (2011)
E.Monroe 42 -7.8 -4.3 -15.6 12.1
M.Oher 48 -19.6 11.8 -18.9 -12.5
A.Smith 19 -20.2 -0.5 -18.0 -1.7
J.Smith 26 -22.7 0.2 -16.7 -6.2

Andre Smith had a rough beginning, but started coming around in 2011. Michael Oher, whether anyone agrees with the selection process or not, was announced to the 2012 Pro Bowl. Eugene Monroe was a big reason that Maurice Jones-Drew led the league with 1,606 yards rushing.

On the other hand, Jason Smith, the first tackle selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, could be released if he doesn't take a substantial pay cut according to Pro Football Talk.

Per a league source, Smith will face the time-honored take-a-pay-cut-or-take-a-hike ultimatum in the offseason, given that (per NFLPA records) Smith is due to earn a base salary of $10 million in 2012. With only $1 million of it guaranteed, the Rams won’t hesitate to dump Smith, if he won’t dump much of his scheduled pay.

Andre Smith is entering the final year of his contract, which had the final two years voided due to an option that the Bengals decided not to exercise last year, scheduled to earn $1,083,750.