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Willie Anderson Shares His Wisdom On Bengals Negotiations With Andre Smith

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Former Bengals great Willie Anderson shared his feelings on the stalemate between the Bengals and Andre Smith.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

With the money payed to franchise quarterbacks in the NFL, it makes sense that the men who protect the team's investment, the offensive linemen, are also payed very well. As pass rushers have evolved and become bigger, stronger and faster, offensive linemen have had to do the same. The left tackle, who protects a quarterbacks blind side (since most quarterbacks are right handed), has become one of the most important players on a team's roster.

The Bengals have their left tackle in Andrew Whitworth, who is widely considered one of the best pass blocking left tackles in the league, and they had their right tackle in Andre Smith, who emerged as the team's best overall blocker in 2012. Smith is now a free agent and he and the Bengals are at a stalemate. The Bengals would like to keep Smith in Cincinnati, but Smith feels that the team's contract offer "stinks."

It's true that the right tackle position doesn't get the attention that left tackle does, however, former Bengals great Willie Anderson believes that the media and a lot of fans undervalue the right tackle position.

He recently took to Twitter to share his feelings.

Consider an offensive line facing a team like the Bengals in a passing situation. One tackle would have to face Michael Johnson and the other would have to deal with Carlos Dunlap, who are both extremely productive pass rushers. Having a good left and right tackle is very important for any team, especially one with a young quarterback.

It's unclear as to what the Bengals offered Smith. What we do know, though, is Smith reportedly wanted a contract that would pay him something in the vicinity of $9 million per season. However, since the top tackles to hit free agency, including Jake Long, signed smaller contracts than that, it's safe to say that Smith isn't going to get exactly what he was looking for.

Hopefully the Bengals can reach an agreement with Smith before he is stolen away by another team. If they can, it will go a long way to improve the team from where it was in 2012 instead of having to replace some of their best players.