Why Stacy Andrews Was Worth Franchising
Attention all salary cap geeks: via FO, I see that Sports Illustrated has posted the cap number for every player in the league. The fourth-heftiest figure — $13.98 million — is owned by none other than Bengals QB Carson Palmer. The next Bengal on the list is current franchise player G/T Stacy Andrews at $7.455 million. WR Chad Johnson rounds out the top three at $6.415 million and change.
It can’t be said that Cincinnati isn’t getting some bang for all those bucks. Scout Inc.’s Keith Kidd ranks the Bengals receiving corps No. 3 in the NFL.
"Even with all the offseason distractions revolving around WR Chad Johnson, the Bengals have a very talented receiving duo with Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. However, without Johnson, this ranking would be a lot lower. Johnson is an explosive playmaker who draws enough attention on the backend to open up the passing game and spacing for other players. He is an excellent route-runner with soft hands and the ability to attack all levels in the passing game. Houshmandzadeh is an exceptional second option who exploits one-on-one matchups in the short and intermediate areas. He is a very smart route-runner with excellent receiving skills and is a big-time threat in the red zone. Rookies Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Mario Urrutia will be counted on early to contribute."
Notably, Kidd also puts the Browns’ and Steelers’ WR groups in the top 10 (at Nos. 6 and 10, respectively). That the division is chock full of great receivers is likely not unrelated to its also being chock full of great QBs. In fact, it isn’t hard to argue that the success of players like Chad is largely due to the presence of guys like Carson, a point made by former Bengals LB David Pollack during a guest hosting gig on an Atlanta radio station yesterday.
As for Andrews, yes, franchise coin was a lot to hand to a guy who who has spent most of his time in stripes as a backup. But he demonstrated last year that he could start in this league, and if he still needs work (particularly in the run game) his presence is indispensable now that injuries are beginning to pile up on aging Pro Bowl RT Willie Anderson. If the offensive line breaks down, the Bengals will end up wasting a lot more than $7 million.