Updated: 10:15 p.m.
With the franchising of right end
As free agency deals are set to be announced beginning Tuesday at 4 p.m., it’s believed the Bengals would also like to strike a deal with the one remaining of the six not wrapped up for this year, veteran left end
Also among Cincinnati's biggest priorities as the new league year opens is re-signing right tackle
And as the free agency period unfolds, the Bengals would no doubt like to find a way to keep that seventh D-lineman, run-stopping tackle Pat Sims. In the 13 games he's missed the past two years, the Bengals have allowed 4.5 yards per rush. In the 19 games Sims has played, they've allowed 3.6.
That's a bit more of a problematic fit since the Bengals drafted two tackles,
Smith, the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, is on everyone's top 10 list of free agents. But what no one knows is if anyone is going to give him the $9 million per year left tackle average he is said to be seeking, modeled on the six-year extension Texans Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown signed with Houston before last season, according to the National Football Post.
And what no one doubts after a rough start to his career in which he played just 13 games in his first two seasons after breaking the same foot twice, is that Smith had his best season in 2012. The grading Web site profootballfocus.com ranked him the league's top right tackle.
The only Bengals on the NFL.com free agent tracker as Monday moved to Tuesday were those that had signed to stay in Cincinnati. But names and names of teams figure to be unleashed Tuesday.
The Bengals say they are looking to sign their own first, but it wouldn't be a huge surprise if they looked into some veteran safeties that can get people lined up before they figure to draft one next month. And with the Bengals lacking a signed kick returner (wide receiver
But the other big question as free agency looms besides Smith is the status of linebacker
Maualuga is a tough one to gauge since he's all over the board. Pro Football Talk has him ranked No. 81 on their hot 100 free agents, he's rated his uniform number on the NFL.com site (No. 58) and CBSSports.com puts him No. 88 on its top 100.
Along with franchising Johnson in the past 10 days, the Bengals have also tendered restricted free agent safety