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Roundtable: Bengals And Andre Smith Negotiations

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Josh Kirkendall and Jason Garrison discussed the Bengals' negotiations with right tackle Andre Smith and what could be best for the team.


Do you think the Bengals will re-sign Andre Smith or not now that he reportedly thinks their offer "stinks?"

Josh K. As long as there's no competing teams looking to sign him, there will come a time when Smith will be forced to sign. I think it happens before the draft, because Cincinnati will need to decide if they want to pursue an offensive tackle to replace him.
Jason G. After I saw he wasn't getting much attention from other teams I wasn't worried. However, with as far apart as the Bengals and Smith seem to be, I'm now worried that another team could come and scoop him up. Right now, I feel that Smith's chances of being back in Cincinnati in 2013 are 50/50.

Josh K. It has to be somewhat telling just how limited the interest is. At this point I don't expect another team to show any interest until after the draft now. Teams are set with their salary caps and many can't capitulate to Smith's demand only because they don't have the room under the cap. The question now for other teams is, do you make a run for an expensive Andre Smith with his "one good year" or take your chances through the NFL draft?
Jason G. That's probably what the Bengals are thinking too. The best case scenario for the Bengals is to re-sign Smith to a deal that is fair for both sides, something in the vicinity of $6.5 million a year, so they can go into the draft not worrying about replacing their best overall offensive lineman and focus on other needs.

Josh K. I'm not sure if it's even the best move right now for the Bengals to re-sign Smith to a long-term deal. And yes, other teams' hesitation in regards to him has me thinking twice about how much we've over-valued him.
Jason G. I just don't like the idea of having to use a first-round pick on an offensive tackle when they could find the team's new strong safety or a new outside linebacker. If Smith can excel as a starting right tackle in the NFL, why allow him to leave?
Josh K. Well, in fairness, we're not going to "allow" him to leave. The Bengals have reiterated several times about re-signing their own, including Smith. But they're also not going to over-pay an offensive tackle when clearly there's no demand for the player outside of Cincinnati. If Smith doesn't like it, he needs to own up to his own personal history causing other teams to shy away their interest.
Jason G. I agree with that and maybe "allow" was a bad word to use. I just hope they can reach a deal. It's frustrating to watch a team draft a player, train him, mold him into one of the better players at his position and then lose him.

Josh K. I wouldn't be surprised if the team signs Smith to a one-year deal, somewhat like a franchise tag, but not nearly as expensive. Allows negotiations again next year, but it forces Smith to virtually have a career-year for that ridiculous $9 million price tag promoted several weeks ago.
Jason G. Yeah, I could see that happening. The other thing that comes to mind, though, is if the Bengals lose Smith and draft a guy like D.J. Fluker, they may be in better shape anyway. From what I understand, Fluker isn't quite the athlete that Smith is, but he's a hard worker, doesn't come with the attitude and is still a powerful run blocker and should be a good right tackle in the league. If they can also draft a running back, linebacker and safety, it would be like having their cake and eating it too.

Josh K. What's to say that the Bengals use the draft to draft an offensive tackle? Their love affair for Dennis Roland is beyond disturbing. Just saying.