The Value of J-Joe


Time is running out for the Bengals to get something done to keep Johnathan Joseph, arguably their best defender, on the team roster. Both sides have said that they want to get a new deal done, but it isn’t done. The deadline to use the franchise tag is tomorrow, which no one expects the Bengals to use. A week after that, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The issue here is settling on Joseph’s true value to the team.

He knows that he is one of the best athletes on the defense right now. (Maybe Dunlap and Atkins will change that this year.) He knows that teams will line up to get him. So he wants to get paid accordingly. That’s understandable.

The Bengals will counter that he is their best defender when he is on the field. And injuries have limited his playing time the last couple of years. With Jones and Ghee behind him, management may claim his value to them isn’t quite as high and that they want a little discount to keep someone who is likely to start only 8-12 games a year. (My speculation, but totally believable, right?)

However, the titans at CincyJungle have noted that the Broncos new contract with Champ Bailey may provide a good baseline for both sides to use. With Bailey getting 4 years/$43M, and with Bailey and Joseph being comparable players, they point out that Bailey’s $11M/year ought to help them settle on $8M-$10M/year for Joseph. I defer to them as better contract brains than me.

All I know is that this deal needs to get done. Pronto. The longer the Bengals wait, the lower the chance that they get Joseph signed. As John Thornton opined about the situation: “If J Joe is allowed to test the market, I give him a 0% chance of returning to the Bengals.” That’s a scary thought when juxtaposed with the open to his post:

"Earlier this morning I had a little Twitter convo with a blogger/Ravens fan @NFLchick.  She asked me if I thought the Bengals would bring back DB Johnathan Joseph, because she thinks the Ravens will make a run at him if he was free."

With as weak as the Ravens have been at CB for years, don’t think for a moment that Ozzie Newsome would jump at the chance to get JJoe. (Funny, I remember saying that exact thing over a month ago.)