The Cincinnati Bengals franchise has certainly earned its notorious reputation for stingy offseason spending over the years. According to OverTheCap.com, the team entered the 2013 free agency period with the fourth-most cap room in the NFL at more than $35.8 million.
This is helped in large part to avoiding some colossal contracts — letting Johnathan Joseph go comes to mind — and often settling for the somewhat underwhelming option, like BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Trading Carson Palmer and not investing in another first-round quarterback also helps save cap room but Andy Dalton, the quarterback they did invest in, may lose his best offensive tackle.
On March 13 the Bengals’ official Twitter account attempted to assure fans that Cincy wouldn’t let this free agency period go to waste.
Cincinnati did move with vigor prior to free agency by giving the franchise tag to defensive end Michael Johnson for a cool $11.2 million and re-signing a few others including fellow end Robert Geathers, but no huge contracts elsewhere as of yet. Many reports are saying Smith is asking for a number in the neighborhood $9 million per year.
The major warning around Smith is that he underperformed until his contract year. Still, the incredibly high ceiling has already revealed itself, as Smith turned in a year perhaps better than any right tackle in the league. It seems $9 million year is worthy of Top 10 draft pick finally hitting his prime.