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So, we looked great on paper this past season, got to the playoffs again for the third straight year but didn't show up to play and still haven't won a playoff game. FA is right around the corner so who could we possibly bring in to help us over that hump.

- WR, I don't think it would happen but Eric Decker is out there. Placing him with AJ could be a great combo!!

- OL Matt Slauson, is said to be the 5th best Guard!!

- CB Tim Jennings, Charles Tillman or Rodgers-Cromartie will be available and could help us out!!

- S TJ Ward could also help us out!

- Punt returner, drop Tate because these guys might be available - Dexter McCluster and Devin Hester

No I'm not smoking any funny stuff, jst wishful thinking that we could land one of these guys!

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The Bengals are finally in the territory of having one or two players push them over the top.

Alex Mack is the player I think could REALLY help in this case. Doubtful to happen, but I can dream.

Collins-Whitworth-Mack-Zeitler-Smith

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FYI,

Don't be suprised to see the Ravens sign Mack. In fact, I'd put money on it.

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Well, with the line of thought by everyone that calls themselves an "analyst" being that the Bengals cannot afford Collins, the thought of him coming back ALONG with signing Mack has almost no chance at happening. Honestly, I think they could in fact do that and would go so far to say that they should. Dalton doesn't need more weapons, he needs a better line.

Resign Collins and sign Mack away from the Browns and let the draft do the rest..

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Army, I have to disagree with you about Dalton not needing more weapons. At WR we have AJ. The other WR's are hit and misses. Jones will have a good game and then not show up to play for a game or two. Sanu is the same way. AJ is usually double or triple covered most of the time. We didn't use Hawkins that much, which was a bad decision because when he's in the game he performs! Dane wasn't used that much either but then he was hurt a lot. Gresham seemed to either fumble or get a 15 yard penalty in just about every game... So, I do believe that we need another #1 WR to challenge and or help AJ!

I do agree that the OL needs help and Dalton needs more protection. Mack would be a great pick up but not sure the Bengals will do that. I also see the Bengals going after an older guy or someone that won't contribute that much for us in FA! They'll want to save money.

Oh and one last thought, the Bengals thought it was difficult to sale tickets this past season, I see it getting worse next season seeing that we still haven't won a playoff game under Marvin's watch. Also, we never know what Bengal team will show up to play. We can have that team that plays like a JV team or a Bengal team that shows up to play three quarters, etc..

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I know what you are saying Combat and made a comment about a few weeks ago about depending on who gets taken ahead of them in the first that I wouldn't mind seeing Kelvin Benjamin to add to the arsenal. I guess there are still ways where that could end up making sense, but I fall back to the thought of there only being so many targets to go around. When they are already underutilizing a player like Eifert, who got less targets than either Jones or Sanu, why pick up another player ?? Why not adjust who gets targeted, playing to the strengths of your players and draft to protect Dalton ??

I simply can't envision a scenario where a skilled position player would make a bigger impact on this roster than an elite o-lineman to protect Dalton.

Again, the only way I would want to see that happen is if they get a guy like Mack and I already don't think that's going to happen.

Not to mention, I view CB, Safety, LB, and both lines as a greater need than WR.

That's just me spitballing though.

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Interesting piece by La Canfora today here. I'm not so much interested in his main thesis (QBs are underpaid) as I am in what he has to say about the cap.

Want to know the real problem with the NFL, when it comes to salaries? How about the fact the salary cap hasn't really moved at all since 2009? How about the fact the cap doesn't seem to keep pace with the growth of the league, and that teams are handcuffed by the cap, if anything? That in and of itself doesn't speak to the actual worth of quarterbacks. The real problem is, quarterbacks are eating up a big portion of the cap not because they aren't worth it -- there is a reason teams are desperate not to let these passers hit the market -- but it's that the actual ceiling of the cap isn't growing, even with all these new television packages and all the money flowing in.

...

At the same time, a salary cap that was $128 million in 2009 now projects to be just $126.3 million.

That's the issue, folks.

If the cap was growing, say, 5-7 percent per year since 2009, it would be much easier to absorb the higher cap hits that naturally come with more quality quarterbacks nearing the end of their contracts. Let's say that $128 million grew by 5 percent annually (roughly $6.5 million per season), well, trust me, in that case no one would be crying about an $18 million cap hit for a quarterback. Shoot, let's dial it back and say the cap grew by $3M each year, and each team has $15M more in cap room than reality -- again, no one would be slandering QB cap hits.

Instead, the NFL and NFLPA have had to find ways to contrive ways to get the cap to even stay this flat, through deferring performance payments to future years and stripping the Redskins and Cowboys of cap space over two years and redistributing it to the rest of the league. And even that hasn't provided a true boost. Things will start to tick forward in 2015 when more of the new TV revenue kicks in, but even then I'm told the increases will be modest and incremental.

The other day I saw an Enquirer piece by Reedy or Dehner, I don't recall which, speculating that AC could get $6-8 million a year and MJ would get $10 million/year or more. I think the realities of a tight cap and cheap rookies are going to push those numbers a lot lower. Also, it may mean that the notoriously frugal Bengals may be able to compete for a player or two that would have been priced way out of their reach back in the "old days."

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I saw something (maybe PFT) about Collins being a candidate for the Tag.

If the thought is they don't think the Bengals can afford to sign Collins long term, why do they think the Bengals will dole out almost 10 mil for the one season?

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Yeah, I don't see a tag for AC, especially with Whit making noises on the .com today about wanting to go back to LT.

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I didn't see that about Whit wanting to go back to LT.

This is going to irritate me pretty well going forward I think.

Then again, I made the prediction that Boling would be the starting LG a few weeks ago, so I should just let it go.

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My guess is that Whit is just staking out his turf in case the Bengals should propose (or have proposed behind the scenes) keeping him at guard at a lower salary. I'm sure there are all sorts of conversations going on. One I'm waiting to hear is whether or not they have picked up Green's option. Their window to do that is limited.

Back OT, I popped out to walterfootball.com to look at his OT and DE rankings. No doubt things tighten up after some of these guys retire or re-sign with their current team, but right now both markets are crowded.

1. Eugene Monroe, OT, Ravens. Age: 27.

2. Jordan Gross, OT, Panthers. Age: 34

3. Jared Veldheer, OT, Raiders. Age: 27.

4. Branden Albert, OT, Chiefs. Age: 29.

5. Austin Howard, OT, Jets. Age: 27.

6. Rodger Saffold, OT/G, Rams. Age: 26.

7. Anthony Collins, OT, Bengals. Age: 28.

8. Michael Oher, OT, Ravens. Age: 28.

1. Greg Hardy, DE, Panthers. Age: 26.

2. Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 28.

3. Michael Bennett, DE, Seahawks. Age: 28.

4. Lamarr Houston, DE, Raiders. Age: 27.

5. Jared Allen, DE, Vikings. Age: 32.

6. Michael Johnson, DE, Bengals. Age: 27.

7. Justin Tuck, DE, Giants. Age: 31.

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http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1956399-setting-odds-for-cincinnati-bengals-signing-their-top-5-free-agent-targets?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=cincinnati-bengals#articles/1956399-setting-odds-for-cincinnati-bengals-signing-their-top-5-free-agent-targets

for info / discussion - from the Bleacher Report.

I like the idea of re-signing Collins, adding Mack and Blackmon ... all good solid moves, but as per usual (year after year) we still fail to land the big names.

I think Cincinnati has turned a corner in terms of now being a desired place to be, but I don't think we'll see the salary ceiling getting near to the cap limit as that just isn't how we (the Front Office) roll - so don't hold your breath waiting for that super signing to be publicised.

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Chiefs letting OT Branden Albert hit the market.


/>http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/12/chiefs-ready-to-let-branden-albert-walk-into-free-agency/

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I think it makes sense to tag Collins. Continuity, economics, performance are all in his favor there. Plus, this is the make-or-break year for Dalton (no, really, they mean it this time). No sense jamming up money long term with so much uncertainty at QB. Seriously, it could go either way.

Reading the tea leaves, Johnson is gone. I bet he lands in Minny or New Orleans (they cut Will Smith).

Best scenario, Whit goes to LG, Collins is tagged and the Oline solidifies. I would not mind a couple of moves in the defensive backfield, giving two of the three (Hall, Jones, Newman) their papers, and bring in a FA (Alterraun Verner or Vontae Davis?) to go with a CB early in the draft.

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Over at NFP, Joe Fortenbaugh disagrees with me, arguing that big bucks deals will be back for DEs in 2014. However, he believes MJ may not get one.

Johnson’s 2012 breakout campaign (11.5 sacks, 20 QB hits, 15 tackles for loss, one interception) resulted in Cincinnati’s use of the franchise tag on their star defensive end to the tune of $11.1 million for the 2013 season. Not a bad chunk of change by any stretch, but the problem for Johnson is that he came back in 2013 to notch just 3.5 sacks in 15 regular season games. That set off some alarm bells, especially for those who felt Johnson’s success was a byproduct of playing on the same defensive line as Pro Bowl DT Geno Atkins. The offers will be there, but Johnson may find some disappointment in the details contained within.

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I think there will always be some team so desperate, they will be more than happy to overpay for a player.

Those teams usually suck and HAVE to overpay to get a player to be willing to sign with them.

How much do you think a top end player would want to go play for the Browns ??

Some will get paid, some won't.

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I think there will always be some team so desperate, they will be more than happy to overpay for a player.

Those teams usually suck and HAVE to overpay to get a player to be willing to sign with them.

How much do you think a top end player would want to go play for the Browns ??

Some will get paid, some won't.

I wish I could read JoeThomas' mind every time he thinks about the extension he signed before the 2011 season. The money was good, 7 years, like 90 million. But he's got to be looking at that team and wishing he wasn't spending his best years there. Maybe Hoyer will prove out.

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Exactly my point.

Is a player willing to give up playing for a contender to get paid the bigger contract ??

Sooner or later playing for a team like the Browns has to grate on you regardless of personal accomplishments.

I mean how much does setting personal bests and going to the pro bowl outweigh watching other teams consistently have a shot in the playoffs ??

Even if said teams don't get to the Super Bowl, at least they have a chance. 4-12 ?? Not so much.

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Exactly my point.

Is a player willing to give up playing for a contender to get paid the bigger contract ??

Sooner or later playing for a team like the Browns has to grate on you regardless of personal accomplishments.

I mean how much does setting personal bests and going to the pro bowl outweigh watching other teams consistently have a shot in the playoffs ??

Even if said teams don't get to the Super Bowl, at least they have a chance. 4-12 ?? Not so much.

Since 78% of NFL are going to end up bankrupt within 2-5 years after retirement, why not give up the bigger contract and play for a contender enjoying the time they have a little more?

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Here are Andre Smith's contract numbers. Yes, he is a RT and AC is a "LT", but I do not see AC's offer being at or above this.

Year Base S. Bonus Misc. Cap Hit Dead

2013 1,900,000 1,000,000 3,100,000 6,000,000 5,000,000

2014 3,000,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 5,200,000 2,000,000

2015 4,600,000 1,000,000 1,200,000 6,800,000 1,000,000

That being said, I think AC is going to be quite affordable for the Bengals, after the market shakes out.

Affordable and signable are two different things though, as AC's desire to start will be the biggest factor potentially.

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I hope they bring Pollak back as well. He's a good vet presence on the o-line that can back up the Center spot.

I'm still very curious what they do with Collins and am left to wonder if they might go ahead and let him go outright.

There are LT options in the draft to be had at a much cheaper cost.

Oh yeah, please bring back Vinny (lastname) Rey !!!

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An interesting take on the chances of who stays or not.


/>http://cincinnati.com/blogs/bengals/2014/02/10/assessing-bengals-free-agents/

Totally agree with that writer's take on the Bengals using the Andre Smith strategy with Collins. I believe they'll let him test the waters and hope he can't find stupid money, then get him for what by then will be determined to be market value. It is almost too much to ask for that it works on both Collins and Smith.

There is something there that we don't know about concerning Collins. The coaches just don't seem to want to start him. They play him when they have to, and that's where it ends. Hopefully he's outgrown whatever it was, or developed in whatever area was holding him back. Maybe they just like the road grader type like Andre.

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