NFL.com reporter Gregg Rosenthal wrote Monday morning that Sports Illustrated's Peter King has indicated Andre Smith and his representation are not happy with the offer they received from the Bengals and said that it "stinks". Smith is widely regarded as the best free agent that remains unsigned this year.
Smith asked for $9M per year originally, but as the free agent frenzy has calmed down, it's looking more and more like the timeless Rolling Stones lyrics prevail yet again: "You can't always get what you want." The sad reality is that Smith and his people think he is worth more than the rest of the NFL does. The fact that the Bengals didn't extend him the franchise tag showed they weren't afraid of him testing the market; they knew that Smith had raised enough red flags that they could take their chances on losing him. Thus far, it's looking like a good move on the Bengals' part.
The reason teams are hesitating on taking Smith is because of a slew of things that have happened throughout his career. He had a particularly peculiar event occur leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft. Smith also earned himself a clause in his contract where he had to remain below 350 pounds or his checks were cut in half. Smith also didn't turn on his A-game until 2012, the year his contract was up. On top of that, he was arrested at an Atlanta-area airport for having a gun in his luggage.
Given his history, I worry about how Andre Smith will react to all of this. Either way, he will get a multi-year contract from someone before the season starts—chances are, from the Bengals (CBSSports). Does that mean he will revert to the Andre Smith of 2009-2011, playing intermittently with a bevy of weight problems and injuries only to turn it on when his livelihood is at stake? Or will he realize that the 2009-2012 Andre Smith wasn't worth $9M per year and that he has work to do if he wants to demand—and receive—that amount whenever his next contract comes up?
Smith's Bengal teammates understand that this is a business and everyone is out to get their own, so don't expect Smith to be received negatively in the locker room unless these negotiations cause him to miss OTAs or Training Camp. However, Cincinnati is certainly looking to solidify something before then.
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