Since the Bengals drafted Andre Smith 6th overall in the 2009 NFL draft, his career as been a bit of a roller coaster ride. It took Smith seemingly forever to sign with the Bengals being one of the bigger (no pun intended, but have you seen his 40 yard dash video?) hold-outs in recent Bengals history. This caused him to miss nearly all of training camp and some of the Preseason. Then when he finally did sign he broke his foot and was ruled out for the first seven games of the season, and questionable for the next. And let us not forget that he spent most of the 2010 season on IR.
Through his limited playing time in his first few season or games (it seemed to be the same amount of time) he play was inconsistant. I don’t mean that it was inconsistant for a veteran, I mean it was inconsistant for a rookie. There were numerous penalties, and he got beat off the ball constantly.
However, this past season Smith has matured in the first round Right Tackle that we thought we picked nearly 5 years ago. He was ranked by Pro Football Focus as the number 4 Right Tackle, in the NFL, terms of pass blocking, and 3rd in the NFL in run blocking. These two rankings earned him the No. 1 Right Tackle in the league this past season.
So the Bengals have a big decision on their hands. Do you attempt to sign him to a long term deal that Smith thinks that he is worth, or do you give him the franchise tag.
I know everyone and their brother right now thinks that Michael Johnson should get the Franchise Tag, but there are a couple of factors that you need to take into account.
- Andre Smith has a history of being a royal pain to negotiate a contract with.