After seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Andre Smith is close to signing for someone else. Right now, from the words of Smith himself, it’s going to come down to the Minnesota Vikings or the Arizona Cardinals.
So who’ll it be? Smith says it’s 50-50 between the two teams for his services, and him coming off the free agent board might help unclog the stagnancy when it comes to offensive tackles, who keep visiting and talking to teams, but nothing has been really moving over the last few days with those remaining without a contract.
Smith was on a three-year, $18 million deal with the Bengals the past three seasons, and it seems both sides weren’t too interested in carrying on with their relationship. The right tackle did play 14 games and came back from an injury riddled season in 2014, but seemed to drop off in both pass protection and run blocking as he gets closer to 30, although he remained a starter throughout the season, like he has been since 2011 when he took over the spot in the offensive line.
Both the Vikings ($18 million) and the Cardinals ($15 million) have enough money to make room for Smith, who is probably more worried about guaranteed money than anything else, hoping to be ranked among the top 5 highest paid right tackles in the NFL once again, although might end up disappointed. Lane Johnson and Riley Reiff are the only ones at the position getting paid more than $8 million in 2016, but nine more players, who some of them aren’t as good as Smith, make over $5 million.
Smith was a first round pick for the Bengals in 2009, although it took him time to achieve starter status, but injuries and a slow learning curve early in his career meant he didn’t get a lot of time on the field during the first two seasons. After his All-American career at Alabama, he played a total of 82 games over the years for the Bengals, including 73 starts. Last season, he saw 567 pass snaps and 414 run snaps.