As NFL free agency continues, it still looks like Andre Smith has played his last snap for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals have shown no interest to this point in re-signing the talented but enigmatic right tackle, even though he's been the full-time starter in Cincinnati since 2011. But after the Bengals spent their first and second-round picks on offensive tackles in the 2015 NFL Draft, Smith's fate was effectively sealed.
Yes, #Vikings fans, Andre Smith is the player I was referring to last night. Slated to visit. Team is still eyeing OTs.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 10, 2016
Text this morning from a contact: "Andre (Smith) should visit next week." FA fluid, as always. But he's surely on the #Vikings radar.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) March 10, 2016
Told the Bucs are another team interested in OL Andre Smith. #Vikings— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) March 10, 2016
It wouldn't be a surprise for a former Bengals coach, like Zimmer, to show real interest in Smith, and Minnesota could use some help at tackle. Even though Bengals fans have grown tired with Smith's penalties, he is still a quality player and solid tackles are hard to come by.
The same is true of Tampa Bay, who has acquired former Bengals including Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson, Clinton McDonald and defensive line coach Jay Hayes. All of these players -- and Hayes as a coach -- have left the Queen City over the past few years and eventually ended up soaking in the Tampa sunshine. Hayes left this offseason to become Tampa's defensive line coach, so he can probably offer some great insight on how to manage Smith.
After being the No. 6 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Alabama, Smith would suffer foot injuries that cost him 19 games during his first two seasons with the Bengals. He's since missed only 11 games during the past five seasons, but did miss seven games in 2014 with a torn triceps muscle.
Smith missed two games this past season due to a concussion, but started in 15 games, including the postseason. However, his performance was like a roller coaster through the years, which was more often on the downside as he finished as Pro Football Focus' 56th-ranked tackle. PFF also gave Smith a 39.6 grade, which by their grading system made him a 'replaceable' player.
All of this is not a good sign for Smith as he enters free agency. He's already been shafted from free agency in 2013 when no one wanted to pay him what he was requesting. That led to the Bengals getting him back on a team-friendly three-year, $18-million deal, following a 2012 season where he finished as the No. 4 offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus.
As for the Bengals, Smith's starting spot will be up for grabs as Eric Winston, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher are the only tackles signed who could replace him, unless you count the recently-signed Darryl Baldwin.