Dillon stalemate continues

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The Bengals and Pro Bowl running back Corey Dillon traded offers today, but the sides are no closer to a long-term deal. After reviewing Dillon's counter proposal that cbssportsline.com is reporting as a five-year $24.6 million contract in which he gets $10 million this year, Bengals President Mike Brown wasn't prepared to agree.

With $8 million of the money coming up front and $2 million coming in salary for 2000, the Dillon offer conjured up for the Bengals memories of last season's deal with wide receiver Carl Pickens. Fresh in Brown's mind is the $8 million he gave to Pickens in salary and bonus before watching the deal get blown up to the tune of a $700,000 salary cap hit this year and a $2.1 million hit next year for a player who may not play another down for the Bengals.

"We got burned last year with Carl Pickens," Brown said, "and we're just not going to expose that kind of risk."

Agent Marvin Demoff, who couldn't be reached for comment, apparently didn't like the Bengals' six-year, $30 million offer, $4 million of which is tied to incentives. He may also not have liked the way the Bengals split up a $5 million signing bonus into six annual installments of $833,333. The Bengals couldn't reach Demoff after they went over his counter and they hope to talk Thursday.

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"We've got a deal on the table that gives him an average of $5 million over six years, which is what he's asked for," Brown said. "We think it's a very fair offer."

Dillon's people are making a big push with the national media to show that the statistics of Dillon and Titans running back Eddie George are similar enough to warrant something in the range of the six-year $42 million deal George just pulled down with $10 million up front.

In his three-year career, Dillon has 4,206 yards on 844 runs and catches for a 4.98-yard average. In the same stretch, George has 4.31 yards per touch. They also point out Dillon had better stats than George against AFC Central rivals and common foes last season. He rushed for 689 yards on 5.1 yards per carry against Baltimore, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh. George had 582 yards on a 3.7 average against the same teams. Against San Francisco, Dillon went for 133 yards on 25 carries while George went for just 26 on 15 carries.

All indications are Dillon has no plans to report Friday for the first day of training camp and will follow through on his pledge to sit out the first 10 games.

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