The Cincinnati Bengals have lost another big free agent, this one being Andre Smith as he's signing with the Minnesota Vikings.
Minneapolis here I come...Excited to join the great Vikings organization today on a 1-yr deal!!#SKOLVikings!! pic.twitter.com/yKTg2OA7TC— Andre Smith (@BigSmitty71) March 17, 2016
Andre Smith can make up to $4.5 million on his 1-year deal with #Vikings, source said.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2016
This move was expected, at least on the part of Smith not remaining with the Bengals in 2016. Smith will now join Emmanuel Lamur who also signed in Minnesota last week as well as Terence Newman who re-signed with the Vikings last week after spending the 2015 season with them.
While Smith was a key player for the Bengals and their full-time starting right tackle since 2011, he was not someone the Bengals made any concerted effort to re-sign. The talented but enigmatic right tackle has slowly fallen out of favor in Cincinnati since the 2014 season, and it helped lead to his departure to Minnesota this offseason.
After the Bengals spent their first and second-round picks on offensive tackles in the 2015 NFL Draft, Smith's fate was sealed. Originally drafted with the 6th-overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft by way of Alabama, Smith would suffer foot injuries that cost him 19 games during his first two seasons in the Queen City as the 'bust' label appeared imminent.
But while Smith's career in Cincinnati may not be one worth of a top-10 pick in any draft, he was successful enough that he should not be considered a bust, especially in what was one of the worst draft classes in recent memory.
After being ranked as the No. 28 offensive tackle according to Pro Football Focus in 2011, he finished as the No. 4 tackle by PFF in 2012. Since 2011, Smith has missed only 11 games during the past five seasons, but did miss seven games in 2014 with a torn triceps muscle.
This past season, Smith missed two games 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.
But what really hurt Smith's case was the Bengals making virtually no effort to re-sign him this offseason or even so much as express a hair of interest in wanting him back. All of this was not a good sign for Smith as he entered free agency, which is probably why he had to settle for a one-year deal.
Good luck to Andre in Minnesota.