Justin Smith?

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Justin Smith?

Postby andyjens89 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:05 pm

Andrews' tag may be end for Smith

The announcement Monday that the Bengals are using their franchise tag designation on offensive lineman Stacy Andrews could spell the end of Justin Smith's time in Cincinnati.

The offseason decisions to retool a roster do not happen in a vacuum. They are related. Unable to reach a multi-year deal with Smith, the Bengals removed the tie that bound him last season and placed it on Andrews this year.

By choosing to place the franchise designation - which severely limits an unrestricted free agent's ability to move to another team - on Andrews, the Bengals appear to be dropping a major clue that they are moving to a three-lineman defensive scheme and are worried about the health of offensive right tackle Willie Anderson.

Smith, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2001 draft, was the Bengals' franchise player in 2007. He earned $8.64 million, the average of the top five defensive end salaries in 2006, but to use the tag on him again this year would have cost the Bengals 120 percent - $10.372 million for one year - of what he was paid last season.

A phone message left Monday for Jim Steiner, Smith's agent, was not returned.

Andrews has evolved from fourth-round pick and backup offensive lineman to indispensable. The Bengals essentially showed Andrews the money and will pay him a one-year tender of $7.455 million, the average of the top five offensive linemen's salaries, if they can't reach a long-term deal.

The Bengals gain the right to match any offer sheet Andrews might sign with another team in free agency. If the Bengals were to decline to match an offer sheet Andrews might sign with another team, they would receive first-round draft picks from that team for 2008 and 2009.

Andrews started 14 games in 2007, 11 at right tackle in place of the injured Willie Anderson. Andrews started the first three games at left tackle. If Anderson is healthy in 2008, he more than likely would be the starter. There's the possibility Andrews could be the sixth man on the offensive line.

"I'm not worried about that at all," Andrews said Monday of his potential role with the Bengals in 2008. He spoke by cell phone from his hometown of Camden, Ark.

"They have something in store for me, whether it's at guard or tackle. Whatever is going to help the team I'll do."

Anderson said coach Marvin Lewis called him over the weekend to tell him of the club's plan to designate Andrews as the franchise player. Andrews said he found out Monday afternoon when reached on the phone by Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan.

"It's smart business sense for the Bengals to lock up their future," Anderson said Monday of the decision to tag Andrews.

"If you look around the NFL and the playoffs, the Giants and other teams had depth on their offensive line and were able to rotate guys and have other guys fill-in for injuries."

Anderson said he plans to play three more years.

"If I have three productive years left in me, it's still smart to get young guys sewed up," he said.

Andrews has 17 starts and 47 games of NFL experience. He played in just five games in college at Ole Miss in 2003 after coming out for football in 2002 for the first time.

"Stacy has been a productive young player for us," Lewis said in a statement released by the club.

"He has shown the flexibility to start and play well at a number of different positions on our line. This move helps us keep our core players together, and it gives us an opportunity to continue negotiating for a longer-term contract with Stacy."

Andrews called the designation "an honor. I was hoping I was going to be able to get a (long-term) deal. I am excited, man. I've worked hard. I'm going to keep working hard."

His brother, Shawn, is a Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Eagles.

Now Stacy Andrews, at least in salary, has joined his brother's elite company.

"The franchise option is designed to help a team retain the rights to a top player," Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn said in a release. "The players' union supports it because it guarantees that player a salary commensurate with what he has accomplished."

The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement permits a new agreement between Andrews and the Bengals to be reached at any time prior to July 15.


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Postby ChocolateMilk » Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:16 pm

sucks for him.. he'll find work elsewhere though. just not here. we're trying to get away from signing players past their prime to big contracts(and he'll want a big contract)
R.I.P. Sean Taylor

You will be missed, but never forgotten

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Postby jeremyroyce » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:30 pm

Well, he is now with San Fran

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