Waiting for Godotmandzadeh UPDATED: TJ Leaves Minny


Still no word yet on where T.J. Houshmandzadeh will play in 2009 and beyond. The Cincinnati Bengals appear to have the best offer on the table, but T.J. is either reluctant to return (no surprise) or hoping that his dithering will squeeze a few more dollars out of the Bengals (I doubt it).

C. Trent offers the view that, whatever happens, no one can criticize the Bengals for not trying hard to keep Houshmandzadeh in Cincinnati. Ah, Trent, you don’t know Bengals fans very well yet, do you? Trust me, if T.J. re-signs, many will complain loudly about “over-spending on a No. 2 wideout while getting no help for the o-line.” On the other hand, if T.J. walks, the bleat will be about how the Bengals were idiots for not franchising him (and paying even more money!) instead of Shayne Graham.

In short, being a Bengals fan is rarely about logic. It’s mostly about finding some way to turn everything the team does into an excuse to complain about Mike Brown.

For my part, I don’t know what else the Bengals could have done to woo T.J. back. Props to the front office for stepping up, and if it works out, great. If not, we move on.

And away we go with the updates: Not two minutes after I post this, the Star-Trib guys say T.J. might have skipped town to fly back to LA last night. Click on the first link in this post for their blog.

More: It’s confirmed. T.J. left Minneapolis last night and is back in Los Angeles. Good for Seattle? Good for Cincinnati? Who knows. But it now looks like this saga could drag on even longer.

For future reference: Since we seem to be headed back to the West Coast, here’s a link to Clare Farnsworth’s Seahawks blog for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Farnsworth clarifies reports about the size of Seattle’s offer to T.J. saying it’s $2 million more overall, not per year, than the proposal made by the Vikings. Both offers appear to be below the one Cincy has on the table.

Over at Cincyjungle kirk does a bit of speculating. My guess is that either a) T.J. has picked Seattle or Minnesota, but wanted to break the news to Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer in person, or b) we’re entering phase 2 of free agency for Houshmandzadeh, where he sits and waits and hopes something changes somewhere (injury, failure to fill a WR need in the draft) to bring a new team to the table.

By all accounts, Housh is a stand-up guy, so I could definitely see A being the case. If it’s B, the question becomes how long the Bengals are willing to wait around. Already, indications have emerged that they are poised to turn to Laveranues Coles if Houshmandzadeh doesn’t re-sign, and yesterday the team noted that uncertainty over exactly who’ll be in the lineup this fall is hindering a rebuild of the playbook. So I’m betting the Bengals will be willing to give T.J. a little more time, but not that much.

FWIW T.J.’s agent says the plan is still to make the call today.

Pioneer Press bloggers say it’s down to Cincy and Minny, but the Vikings need to pony up more money to land Houshmandzadeh. More rumors as they develop…

Says C. Trent:

"The word on the street is that T.J. wouldn’t be taking a discount to stay with the Bengals, that they’re the high-bidder in terms of years, total vaule and guaranteed money."

In addition to Coles the Bengals are also reported to have inquired after Nate Washington.

On ESPN (the cable channel, not the .com), Michael Smith continues to say that his sources say that T.J. is leaning strongly toward the Seahawks. If true, the delay in any announcement is probably due to his agent trying to bring the Seattle offer — which has been reported to be several million short of Cincy’s — closer to the Bengals’ numbers.

An unconfirmed radio report has cincyjungle commenters bouncing off the walls.