Andre Smith had found himself in an interesting position up until this point in the off-season. Then again, so have the Cincinnati Bengals.
After ranking as the best overall starting right tackle in the NFL and seeing the lofty franchise tag placed on Cincinnati’s DE Michael Johnson, Smith demanded a high price for his services to remain in the Queen City.
In this case, high price is the equivalent a contract worth about $9 million per year.
An amount the Bengals were rightfully wary to grant him, for two reasons.
The first can be seen at a surface glance. $9 million is a lot of money for just one year, for one player. To put it into perspective, newly-signed, veteran linebacker James Harrison will make a total of $4.45 million in his two-year deal with the Bengals.
The other reason the Bengals didn’t want to give the 6-4, 335 pound big man such a hefty sum of money was perhaps the same reason he wasn’t picked up by another team, as contract talks with he and the Bengals became sparse last month.
The first round pick out of Alabama played hurt much of his first two years in the league, and for awhile his potential continued to shine brighter than the skill he was showing on the field.
As Smith approached his contract year, he slimmed down and quickly evolved as one of the premier right tackles in the league.
That fact had a lot of NFL teams, including the Bengals, having second thoughts about the monster contract that Smith was requesting.
Cincinnati played it smart by simply waiting. Without any other teams looking to enter into contact negotiations, Andre Smith again found himself in talks with the Bengals, and a deal was finally struck.
Andre gets to stay in Cincinnati, and the Bengals scored an impressive value contract with an equally impressive young talent. The new deal is an $18 million contract for three years, which equates to a far more reasonable $6 million per season.