We know it's premature for a team heading into week five at 3-1, but once this season is over and the Bengals are being celebrated with a parade near Paul Brown Stadium following their return from New Orleans, Cincinnati's front office will have decisions to make. Guys like Andre Smith, Michael Johnson, Manny Lawson, Nate Clements, Mike Nugent, Rey Maualuga, Robert Geathers, Adam Jones will all be free agents after this season.
Now take into account Cincinnati's free agents in 2014; it's always a good practice to sign your best players before they enter their final season under contract. Some of those players currently include Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. And 2015 will be another big year with Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and Clint Boling.
Logic dictates that Cincinnati focuses their priority with players like Andre Smith, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green; not all of them this year, but definitely before their respective contract seasons. In Smith's case, it's more immediate because he's playing the final season after the Bengals declined a two-year option before 2011. Needless to say Mike Brown and the front office will be dishing out the cash.
Currently the Bengals are $15.2 million under the salary cap; a figure that many fans have often slammed the Bengals for. However that number will also increase after this season when Robert Geathers' contract is off the books. And we suspect that Andrew Whitworth won't play out the remainder of his current deal, which expires after 2015. Settle down. We're thinking a team-friendly extension that offers more incentives. On the other hand we're not accounting for younger players receiving significant raises, such as Andrew Hawkins and Vontaze Burfict.
With so much rich talent being so young, the Bengals are going to be faced with major decisions. Luckily those decisions can hold off for the moment, so the team can keep their New Orleans itinerary.
+ As was pointed out in one of the FanPosts, the Pro Football Focus crew articulated Geno Atkins' performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars was legendary. A bit much? Perhaps. They wrote in part:
Last season’s breakout performer at defensive tackle has steadily grown into the 2012 season, but this week Geno Atkins announced his presence with a simply stunning display (+9.7) in Jacksonville. Atkins was afforded favorable matchups and he didn’t just take advantage of them, he exploited them to the absolute maximum. He was so dominant, in fact, that he forced the Jaguars to bench their returning start at left guard, Eben Britton after only 33 snaps.
+ WAS PEKO THE ONE THAT SERVED WASHINGTON? I can not watch the Domata Peko celebration dance without a series of chuckles, followed by a snort. Doesn't matter how many times I've seen it. It took a while but has the Kelly Washington squirrel dance finally been surpassed?
Poll at the end of the post.
Speaking of Kelly Washington, the Bengals former third-round pick from the 2003 NFL draft, caught on with the San Diego Chargers in 2010, posting 13 receptions for 173 yards receiving and a touchdown (yes, he did the Squirrel Dance) that season. However he suffered a knee injury during the ensuing preseason and was released during final cuts. He's been out of the NFL since.
"They're getting opportunities to do good things. It's a good, consistent an effort by both players. Terence has begun to relax a little bit more and just play, and that's been good thing. And then Adam, it's the most football I think he's probably played in I don't know how long. I know it's a long time. Each and every time out there, he's consciously trying to do everything the way we're asking him to do it, and it's paying off for him. So both guys did a good job yesterday. They had good football games."
- Marvin Lewis on Adam Jones and Terence Newman during Monday's Press Conference
MORE BEAT UPDATE: It's been some time since we've last featured a Morning Beat. With the site changes and all of our weekly obligations slamming the gas pedal to the proverbial metal, our time is reaching a serious zenith. But that's no excuse. One more thing. We're abandoning the whole practice of highlighting our postings from the previous day, largely because the existing format enables us to keep stories well within sight, however if we have more to add, we'll do just that.
+ Chris Brown, known for analysis and strategy at the great Smart Football, expands on Jay Gruden's comment that the Redskins always run Cover-O when the opposing offenses set up with a Wildcat formation.
+ Joe Reedy offers up his report card against the Jaguars.
+ After the Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports writes a stinging review of Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
He looks lost in the pocket and downright scared at other times... While Gabbert deserves some patience, particularly as he works in a new system under first-year head coach Mike Mularkey, some of the things he didn't do well a year ago haven't changed one bit.
+ Big Cat Country has a much more stinging review of the Jaguars as a whole.
+ As pointed out by Pro Football Focus above, Jaguars guard Eben Britton was benched at half time against the Cincinnati Bengals. Note: Domata Peko earned his sack against Britton; his first play since coming off injury.
"I didn't do a good enough job, that's about it," said Britton, who missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury. "Just disappointed that I wasn't able to get it done. You've got to do what's best for the team."
+ Peter King with Sports Illustrated lists the Cincinnati Bengals as his No. 13 team. The Steelers didn't even make his Top 15.