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Marvin Lewis: Bengals will use cap space to keep our own players

Marvin Lewis AP

The Bengals lead the league in salary cap space, but that doesn’t mean they’re going on a spending spree on March 12.

In fact, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says that the team’s priority is to keep the players it has, not to add a lot of high-priced talent from elsewhere.

“Our cap space needs to be spent on our own players,” Lewis told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

With offensive tackle Andre Smith and defensive end Michael Johnson set to become unrestricted free agents, it makes sense that the Bengals’ top priority would be keeping those two talented young players. And Lewis also pointed out that the Bengals aren’t on a one-year plan and don’t want to break the bank with expensive contracts this year that can cause salary-cap problems in years to come.

That could just be smart salary-cap management, although given Bengals owner Mike Brown’s reputation for cheapness, some will see it as evidence that the Bengals just aren’t willing to spend what they’d have to spend to take the next step from a playoff team to a champion.

At the very least, Lewis’s comments strongly suggest that the Bengals won’t be out-bid for Smith or Johnson. If either of those two get away, that’s a bad sign for fans in Cincinnati.

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30 Responses to “Marvin Lewis: Bengals will use cap space to keep our own players”
  1. nebster21 says: Feb 21, 2013 11:13 AM

    How many teams are below the salary floor? Are they colluding?

  2. y5nthon5a says: Feb 21, 2013 11:20 AM

    i think that Marvin Lewis is so underrated. he turns chicken crap into premium chicken salad year in and year out.

  3. JCM1217 says: Feb 21, 2013 11:22 AM

    In addition to keeping Michael Johnson and Andre Smith, they have both Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap with one year left on their deals. And after next year, they can lock-up A.J. Green and Andy Dalton long-term… well at least A.J Green.

  4. mysterytonite says: Feb 21, 2013 11:23 AM

    IMO, it’s not only about Dre and MJ, but Geno Atkins, Dalton, and A.J. are up I believe after 2014, so I’m sure that they are going to try and lock them up this year. Geno and A.J. are #’s 1 and 1A I feel. Johnson and Dre can wait, if we lose them as a result to locking up Geno and A.J., then so be it.

    It seems Mike Brown’s cheapness is being viewed as smart spending. Look at the situation the Steelers are in and the Ravens, while in a better situatio than Pitt, are up against it as well.

    The only thing that is lacking is the gameplanning from the coaches in big games. Jay Gruden has come up short 2 years in a row and Bratkowski was terrible during the latter half of his run here. I hate to say this but our best offensive mind is coaching the running backs this year.

  5. fm31970 says: Feb 21, 2013 11:23 AM

    Two years straight in the playoffs, and a good quality team ready to take the next step- a playoff win. You’re on the right path, Cincy.

  6. jmble says: Feb 21, 2013 11:27 AM

    I’m prepared for the Mike Brown haters to respond to this, but I’m actually okay with it if they are able to keep both Michael Johnson and Andre Smith, and work to extend Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, I will be happy. Then next year they can work on extending AJ Green. They also have a lot of players that aren’t as high profile who are free agents this year that would be worth keeping. I wouldn’t mind seeing them go after a lesser high profile guy like a George Wilson for help at Safety, but I like the direction the team is headed right now.

  7. tannethrill says: Feb 21, 2013 11:30 AM

    They’re going to cheap it out but they seem to have at least figured out how not to bottom out.

  8. bengalsstillsuck says: Feb 21, 2013 11:33 AM

    Wow and thats why this franchise is always sucks never bring in big names they like bringing in felons, 35 yr old corners, or over the hill receivers. Please move this team to LA this franchise is horrible there fan are punks just rename Cincinnati please.

  9. jmble says: Feb 21, 2013 11:33 AM

    Extending you own players isn’t “cheaping it out”, it’s choosing who you would prefer to give the money to. The players you know or the players you don’t know. If you have good players, the choice is easy.

  10. jmble says: Feb 21, 2013 11:35 AM

    In response to Mystery, I believe with the new rookie salary rules, that they cannot attempt to extend AJ Green or Andy Dalton until after this season. They should not play into negotiations with Atkins and Johnson.

  11. peytonwantsaflag says: Feb 21, 2013 11:46 AM

    What Marvin says about financial matters means squat. Marvin has no control, or say, over this stuff. There’s multiple instances in the last few years where what he says turns out to be completely wrong (eg, Jonathon Joseph)

  12. mysterytonite says: Feb 21, 2013 11:49 AM

    Man, who pisses in your coffee every morning BSS?

  13. corvusmaximus says: Feb 21, 2013 11:51 AM

    I’m no Bengals fan but this is a smart move on their part. They’ve got an up and coming team and a lot of young talent. Why blow the cap space on FA? Sign your guys long term now…Dalton and A.J. Green will be ending their rookie contracts soon enough and they’ll both need to be paid.

    This is going to be a strong team in the AFCN for the next few years.

  14. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Feb 21, 2013 11:53 AM

    I still don’t get why Marvin Lewis still has a job and gets extensions. He’s a proven .500 coach that can’t win playoff games (the few times he’s gotten there). I guess Mike Brown’s cheapness is the reason. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense.

  15. samoanjungle says: Feb 21, 2013 12:01 PM

    They need to not only sign A Smith and M Johnson pronto, they need to pay Geno Atkins right now. He has been a bargain. Maybe the best DT in the league, 2 time probowler, and is still on that 4th rounder rookie deal and hasn’t complained one bit. Get him signed for 6-7 years, pay him well and build the D around him.
    Lock in Dunlap as well while he is still cheap.
    If they do the above, all we need is a good playmaking Safety and that D will be unbelievable for years to come.

  16. hitdog042 says: Feb 21, 2013 12:23 PM

    BTW, everyone knows it’s joetoronto with one of his many ids. You are not fooling anyone buddy

  17. bengalsstillsuck says: Feb 21, 2013 12:26 PM

    The reason i hate this franchise so much is because of their fans they talk to much crap for no reason i live about 30mins from cinncy the city sucks an they have unloyal fans that dont take winning well

  18. pgh15212 says: Feb 21, 2013 12:52 PM

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have won a playoff game more recently than the bengals.

  19. Vegas Guy says: Feb 21, 2013 1:30 PM

    Well of COURSE it will be used to keep their own players. Average salaries for average players while the Brown coffers are full to the brim.

    Bengals will be in the top 5 of salary space. You watch. Just like they were last year and the year before.

    If the league was serious about this they would take the salary cap number and any team that DIDN’T spend within 10% of it they should be forced to donate that money to the retired player’s fund.

    Bengals suck. They will this year, they did last year, they will next year, they always will until Mike Brown is no longer in control of that team.

  20. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Feb 21, 2013 2:00 PM

    @ Vegas Guy

    I’m mostly with you on the cap space stuff, but it’s a bit much to say the Bengals “suck”. They’ve been in the playoffs 3 of the past 4 seasons. If Mike Brown would actually open up his wallet for someone like Mike Wallace, this team would be Superbowl caliber.

    Like you said though, MB will likely go into the season with 10+ million in cap space. He could make some moves and get creative, but his #1 concern will always be $$$. If this team is 8-8 or better and fans are buying tickets, that’s all Mike cares about. Period.

  21. bonniebengal says: Feb 21, 2013 3:19 PM

    The Bengals are not permitted to do anything with Green and Dalton until next year. This year, they can focus on Johnson and Smith. Geno Atkins needs to be extended pronto as well. And Brown will be forced to spend this year. He’s been saving up for this for a while and I expect it to happen. Locking up Johnson, Dunlap, and Atkins will give us a top D Line for years to come.

  22. kmichaels15 says: Feb 21, 2013 3:33 PM

    by the time the Bengals sign Jones, Johnson, Smith, Clements, Newman, Sims, and Hawkins plus their upcoming picks they won’t be at the top. Plus with several key FA in 2014 they need some wiggle room for extensions.

    But Im sure we all appreciate the posters who think they personally know Mike Brown.

    Give the man a break. He’s not the same owner he was 5 years ago.

    Maybe the Bengals could go towards the cap with no 10MM buffer if more than 50K showed up for a game. I’m talking to the bengals fans who complain about salary yet sit at home on Sunday.

  23. joemammy says: Feb 21, 2013 4:36 PM

    Paul Brown…spinning in his grave since 1991.

  24. mysterytonite says: Feb 21, 2013 5:41 PM

    Clements and Newman are not coming back. Adam Jones? Yes, I would bring him back just for the fact that we wouldn’t have to keep Tate on this roster. Pacman could play the nickel or the 2 until Kirkpatrick falls into line.

    Dunlap and Atkins are 1st ones up in my eyes and starting talks with Green and Dalton is a good idea too.

  25. changeup39 says: Feb 21, 2013 6:47 PM

    WHO CARES about Micheal Johnson and Fat Andre?! That money needs to be spent on GENO ATKINS and CARLOS DUNLAP. If they screw this up I swear to God…….ugh

  26. randallflagg52 says: Feb 21, 2013 7:22 PM

    When is the last time this team won a playoff game? The late 80′s?

  27. bengalskuta82 says: Feb 21, 2013 9:05 PM

    Marvin is a very intelligent man..He could easily be GM .He makes crapy players into very good or star players..Also remember what the Bengals were like before he got here..As of 2011 I think he has taken control of this team..

  28. mazblast says: Feb 21, 2013 9:28 PM

    fm31970 says:

    Two years straight in the playoffs, and a good quality team ready to take the next step- a playoff win. You’re on the right path, Cincy.
    ———————————–
    Bengal fans follow the Carlton the Doorman theory of achieving happiness–If you set your standards low enough, you can find happiness by just barely meeting those standards.

    A playoff win? Is that REALLY all you ask from your football team? I realize that they last won a playoff game when Bush Sr. was President, but my gosh, aim a little higher.

  29. ravensnosncaps says: Feb 21, 2013 10:03 PM

    Hate to say it, this team has made it to the playoffs being cheap. Watch out it they spend money.

  30. johnnyb1976 says: Feb 21, 2013 11:19 PM

    Here again the bengals haters can’t say who their teams are because they’re browns fans. Get a life losers.

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