Updated: 3-2-09, 11:50 a.m.
Before Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh slept on his decision Sunday night, he left Minnesota without still making a decision. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported he got on a plane headed back to Los Angeles at 9:35 p.m.
Agent Kennard McGuire hasn't been talking about teams, but this may put the ball in the court of Seattle, the team that hosted his family Friday during a beautiful Northwest day. When he left Minneapolis Sunday night, it was about 10 degrees.
On Monday, McGuire said a decision was still coming.
On Sunday, McGuire offered not to comment on where the Bengals stand in the negotiations. They had talked the day Houshmandzadeh hit the market on Friday.
"He's going to sleep on it," McGuire said of the decision in an e-mail, and he would not say if he's got a deal in principle with anybody.
An Internet report surfaced Sunday night saying the Bengals have interest in veteran wide receiver Laveranues Coles.
One thing is certain: The Vikings are making a huge push to get a deal done. The red-carpet treatment from Zygi Wilf, the Vikings owner, began Saturday when he dispatched one the club's private planes to pick up Houshmandzadeh in Seattle, and has been characterized as "a full-court press."
Before he left for Minnesota, Houshmandzadeh said reports that he was looking for $9-10 million per year were erroneus. He wouldn't get into numbers, but last week in Indianapolis he referenced the $8 million per year deal of Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams.
The Bengals are believed to have offered more than Hines Ward's $5.6 million per year and are in the neighborhood of Plaxico Burress' $7 million per year on a four-year deal. The Cincinnati Enquirer, via The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, is reporting Seattle and Minnesota have offered three-year deals.
"This deal," Houshmandzadeh said over the weekend, "is going to take care of my kids."
Another prominent receiver is Coles, whom the Bills have already engaged. A classy, workmanlike receiver in the mold of Houshmandzadeh, Coles, 31, is coming off a 70-catch season with the Jets for 850 yards, a 12.1 average, and seven touchdowns. Heading into his 10th season, he has 631 catches for more than 8,000 yards.
And the two positions on the frontburner look to be receiver and running back.
The Bengals on Sunday afternoon confirmed the visit of Giants running back Derrick Ward before he reportedly got on a plane to Denver. It's believed the Bengals are trying to focus on re-signing running back Cedric Benson. Benson has apparently countered by taking a trip to visit his hometown Texans Monday, according to John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.
The visit is a surprise since the Texans are looking for a guy to back up Steve Slaton with about five to seven carries a game, while the Bengals view Benson as a starter after he had three 100-yard games in the last eight. Houston didn't look at Benson last year after he was cut by the Bears and spent the first month of the season at his Midland, Texas home.