Gregg Easterbrook, ESPN’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback, looks at the Bengals in his AFC preview. He also looks at the Andre Smith holdout and sends most of the blame Smith’s way.
“Slotting” dictates 95 percent of a first-round pick’s contract, so Smith’s holdout can impact only 5 percent of his deal, while dramatically increasing the odds he will become a bust, and thus lose significant future income. As he sits munching chips and playing video games while his teammates sweat in the sun, Smith not only harms his chance of long-term success but alienates his future teammates. Imagine how the other Bengals players must feel about Smith — who’s never taken a snap, yet awards himself the summer off because he won’t sign a contract that contains more guaranteed money than enjoyed by all but one Cincinnati player already out in the sun earning his pay. Aaron Maybin of Buffalo, B.J. Raji of Green Bay and other first-round picks held out way too long, pointlessly, since “slotting” dictated their deals anyway. They didn’t accomplish anything other than harming their own long-term chances of becoming stars. TMQ thinks teams should take the hard-edge approach of reducing their contract offer daily once training camp ends: since at that point, with each passing day, the first-round pick has less value to the team. If the player is going to be worthless in his first season, why should he receive a huge bonus for that season?”
I think Easterbrook missed the point on this one. I can’t really blame Smith or his agent. Mike Brown is refusing the contract slot, reportedly saying the ship has sailed on the slotting system. And so we’re left with an underwhelming offensive line and a rookie that could help it, but is instead sitting at home. You gotta love being a Bengals fan. This is one of those instances when you’re left either scratching your head or if you’re a tad more militant – Viva La Revolucion, Who Dey! – ready to put a whole bunch of urinal cakes in the Paul Brown Stadium bathrooms. It just doesn’t make sense.
And make sure to check out the rest of Easterbrook’s column, in which he also talks about his fears for the Bengals’ offense. Clearly, he needs some Kool-Aid.