BY GEOFF HOBSON
With Corey Dillon's threatened holdout set to begin in four days, the Bengals plan to make a new multi-year offer Tuesday. Katie Blackburn, the club's executive vice president, spoke briefly with agent Marvin Demoff late today to set up a discussion the Bengals hope ends a year-long and sometimes volatile stalemate that gets their Pro Bowl running back into Friday's first day of training camp.
A Dillon signing would also mean the departure of wide receiver Carl Pickens, but the Bengals admit the sides don't appear to be close. Yet Blackburn said, "It's always worth trying and we're going to keep trying. We'll see if we can come up with something to approach them with."
She didn't divulge specifics, but Dillon rejected last month's five-year offer of $21.5 million that included a $5 million signing bonus. Dillon has said he wants to be paid at least $5 million per year and indications are he's not looking just at the elite backs who already have contracts.
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Reports out of Tennessee have the Titans on the verge of extending Eddie George's deal any day now, with the working numbers consisting of a total package of about $42 million with a signing bonus in the $10 million range.
Stephen Davis is another contract to watch. All is not well at the home of the preseason Super Bowl champion Redskins, where Davis is saddled with the franchise tag and is threatening to hold out after his first 1,000-yard season. Davis has already turned down $5 million to sign in a deal that would pay him $1 million this year, plus incentives. He's reportedly looking for $8 to $10 million up front, but the Redskins are focused at the moment on trying to get their rookie tag team of Lavar Arrington and Chris Samuels into camp.
Dillon's camp will be taking a long look at a Davis deal, since Dillon has three 1,000-yard seasons and 1,239 more career rushing yards than Davis. Those close to Dillon say he's not budging and is prepared to sit out the first 10 games of the season.