August 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Bengals beat the Falcons 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
In looking at every contract in the NFL, CBS Sport’s Jason LaCanfora came up with a list of the best value deals for teams. Whether it’s a rookie still playing on his first contract, or a veteran who took a nice hometown discount to stay with his original club, there are plenty of elite players in today’s NFL who aren’t forcing their teams to break the bank and live in salary cap purgatory (ala Joe Flacco).
Oh yeah, and his list featured the best Cincinnati Bengals players:
"Andrew Whitworth, T — Cincinnati Bengals ($4.8M cash; $6.8M cap): He just signed his extension in 2011, but is already outplaying it, again, and with right tackles like Cherilus pulling down $7 million a year, Whitworth remains a bargain at $6 million a year. A.J. Green — Cincinnati Bengals ($2.2M cash; $5.4M cap): He is right there in terms of production with guys like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, but those cats are making $16M a year. Green has one more year to play out on his rookie deal before he enters that stratosphere, and he really must enter that stratosphere. He’s that good. Carlos Dunlap — Cincinnati Bengals ($1.2M cash; $1.5M cap): Dunlap doesn’t get the attention of other young sack masters, but when he is healthy his presence is massive for the Bengals defense and making an average of $750,000 a year, that puts him among guys like Jarius Wynn and Ron Brace in terms of compensation. Domata Peko — Cincinnati Bengals ($4.1M cash; $5.1M cap): Peko signed his most recent deal in 2008, and is outplaying this one as well. He helps form what many believe is the best defensive tackle pairing in the NFL, but is making less money than guys like Barry Coffield. He is currently signed through 2014."
The amazing thing with this list is all but two players on the list are still with their original team. The fact of the matter is that if you can draft as well as the Bengals have recently, you’ll never have to go out and pry other team’s best palyers away from them with overpaid deals, like the ones found in LaCanfora’s “NFL’s Worst Deal’s” piece.