Cincinnati Bengals first round pick Andre Smith says that he wants to be in camp on time.
Good for him. I want him in on time. So do the Bengals, so does every other fan, so…here’s the question.
Are you, and your agent Alvin Keels, prepared to play ball by Mike Brown’s rules?
Contrary to popular perception, Brown will pay you. But traditionally, the sticking point is performance. The Bengals don’t go in for so-called “log” incentives (as in, “as easy to earn as falling off a log”). Play well, and you’ll be well-compensated. Flub it up, and not so much.
Few players and agents are willing to take such risks, especially when other teams routinely dole out cake incentives and escalators that essentially guarantee gigantic paydays for doing things like taking part in two percent of offensive snaps. Moreover, the Bengals have a history of playing hardball in July and early August, only to fold like a house of cards come late August or early September.
If I’m the Bengals, I just do the deal, whatever it takes, and move on. I didn’t want an offensive tackle in the draft for exactly this reason (a holdout) and said long ago that if they do go o-line, then they have to do what it takes to get that player in-house asap. Well, they bit the bullet. Time to do the deed. If Smith is one of those rare guys who’s confident enough in his own abilities to take a tougher-than-normal-to-reach incentive deal, great. But the Bengals knew what they were getting into with the sixth pick, and now’s not the time to fool around.