The Bengals avoid the slot with Smith's deal

With the Bengals refusing to do a slotted deal for the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, tackle Andre Smith and agent Alvin Keels tried their best to cover up the fact that they failed to fit the contract between the deals given to Mark Sanchez and No. 5 and Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7 by successfully obtaining a shorter deal.

Per the Cincinnati Enquirer, Smith signed a four-year deal with $21 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $26 million.

But it really isn’t a shorter deal.  As one league source said, “Every six-year deal is a four-year deal with a club option for the last two years.”

If the Bengals choose to pick up the last two years, the contract will have a base value of $42 million and a maximum package of $50 million.  Per ESPN, Smith would pick up another $8.5 million guaranteed for the extra two years.

So how does Smith’s deal measure up to the slot?  The three bases for the comparison of first-round contracts are the guaranteed money, the base value, and the maximum package. 

Sanchez’s guarantee (including one-time “log” incentive) is $28 million.  Heyward-Bey’s is $23.5 million.  Smith falls south of both at $21 million.  (That said, his average guaranteed money per year is $5.25 million, which fits in the gap between Sanchez and Heyward-Bey.)

Then again, a league source tells us that Smith will make $21.5 million over the first three years, making the guaranteed money not that jaw-dropping. 

Sanchez’s base value is $47 million over five years (i.e., $9.4 million per year).  Heyward-Bey’s contract has a base value of $38.25 million.  It’s unclear whether the $26 million over four years is the base value or the maximum value of Smith’s deal.  If it’s the base value, the $6.5 million annual average falls well below the average annual base value of Heyward-Bey’s deal, which is $7.65 million.

Smith’s guaranteed money matches the amount guaranteed a year ago to sixth overall pick Vernon Gholston on a five-year deal.  The base value of Gholston’s contract was $32.5 million, which matches the $6.5 million annual average Smith received.

So, basically, Smith got a six-year version of Gholston’s deal.  And the Bengals were able to avoid the slotting process, as they vowed to do. 

Smith and Keels saved some face via the appereance of a four-year deal.  But if Smith turns out to be a great player, it won’t be a four-year deal — it’ll be a six-year deal and the two extra years that kick in four years from now will pale in comparison to the first two years of a long-term deal that Smith could have gotten on the open market.

And we’re certain that this deal could have been done weeks ago, allowing Smith more of an opportunity to become a great player.  In the end, Smith and Keels caved, and now Smith faces an uphill climb to fulfill his potential.

20 responses to “The Bengals avoid the slot with Smith's deal

  1. 5-9 million guaranteed this year without ever taking an NFL snap.
    Salaries may or may not be deserve, rookie salaries should be loaded with incentives with a low guarantee, screw this guaranteed crap.
    Hopefully this gets fixed in the off season with the new CBA, want to see Crabtree wishing he woulda took the 49ers offer.
    NFL says more teams facing blackouts this year….

  2. big boy is now a guaranteed multimillionaire. now he can be a bust just like Gholston. Makes no diff if they signed him now or a month ago. Bengals will stink this year either way. Man they looked terrible at their preseason home opener.

  3. Please. Smith and agent didn’t cave. The Bengals just verified, again, what we have always known. They are the Wal-Mart of the NFL. They are a cheap franchise run by a cheap owner. It’s the same reason they always end up with talented but troubled players. They go for the best bargain they can find and compromise some quality in the process. Smith had to sign. And, will he be overly motivated knowing had had no choice but to take less? Will his lack of motivation then lead to not reaching his potential? This is classic Mike Brown.

  4. This helps cedric benson and carson fantasy wise (hopefully). This guy literally eats defensive linemen alive.

  5. I said a week ago that the Bengals had the leverage and I’m glad they stuck to their guns, although admittedly the definition of “sticking to their guns” is a bit warped with salaries at this level.

  6. would love it if the CBA somehow corrects this guaranteed money BS to rookies before Crabtree signs with a NFL team

  7. Great job Bengals ! You saved a bit and beat the system. All it cost you was any hope of Smith contributing this season. Just remember that savig when Carson Palmer is wearing a suit made out of James Harrison this year.
    Oh, and you also confirmed yet again to all potential free agents that you are a second rate organization.
    Sleep well Mike Brown, tomorrow’s a busy day. It starts early when you read your neighbor’s paper then put in back before he notices. Next, you have to close that deal with a third world sweatshop for ultra low thread count jerseys. Finally, you have to sneak into a local college computer lab to print up the Gatorade labels to go on all that generic Kool Aid you mixed up in your bathtub. That’s a full day.

  8. way to hold out for 30 days and take the original offer! that’s a brilliant negotiation strategy.

  9. I’m no Bengals fan, and i could have cared less if he signed or not…..But what I find kind of funny, is how PFT was asleep at the wheel in regards to this signing, hell…he signed a full two hours before it was even mentioned here, and instead of saying he was signed, we get this analysis of the deal before even mentioning the deal….Two players left unsigned in the 2009 first round draft pick class, and no mention of his signing, just some jibberish about how the bengals have done business since the 80’s……Isn’t this a football site? I guess if his name was Favre,Vick or whatever it’d have gotten more attention. I can see if this wasn’t a full time job, just a blogger with time to spare,that has been dispelled, or so I’m told, but even after he was signed, we got omar gaither updates, skins cut 5 camp bodies…etc…..I guess you guys were checking ocho cinco twitter updates……

  10. How come last year when Parcells wanted to blow up the slotting system and get the #1 pick to take less money than the year before, he was a GENIUS. When Mike Brown does it, he’s a cheap skate bastard?

  11. Smith looks like he needs at least a month to be in NFL playing shape so that means he will start Week 1, lol. Thank god Palmer will still be on the bench watching O’Sullivan getting killed.

  12. dude missed basically all of camp – the money should be less than DHB.
    Does the signing package include a manzier?

  13. “How come last year when Parcells wanted to blow up the slotting system and get the #1 pick to take less money than the year before, he was a GENIUS. When Mike Brown does it, he’s a cheap skate bastard?”
    Because that’s not what “slotted” means. “Slotted” means that you have a player picked between two players who are already signed. That means there’s a well-defined market for the pick’s value, and you’re trying to fight that.
    Parcells drafted first overall, so there was no defined market yet, since they were the first to sign. He was also had the ability to negotiate with multiple players, which doesn’t exist after the draft. In that way, he was able to offer a win-win situation, in which he gets a good deal and the player gets more than he would have at a lower slot.
    So the situations are very much different – Parcells was trying to set the market, Mikey’s in denial of the market.

  14. Goody, the pile of flab can now afford to really hit the buffet tables at Hoss’s!
    He will likely be 450 lbs by mid-season.

  15. I think it’s stupid that the Bengals think they’re so special that they should be able to pay players less. If you don’t want to pay #6 money, then trade the pick and draft later, or field a better team so you don’t pick that low every year.
    On the same note, Michael Crabtree is stupid for thinking he deserves to get paid more than the slot where he was drafted.
    Two sides of the same coin, idiots that ruin a good thing for everyone else.

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