Smith deal impacted

7-23-01, 9:35 p.m.

BY GEOFF HOBSON

The agent for Justin Smith sent a proposal to the Bengals Moday night in an offer bolstered earlier in the day by the Michael Vick-like deal reached by defensive tackle Richard Seymour.

The Seymour deal in New England could harden or heat the negotiations since the Bengals want no part of the two-tiered signing bonus.

Meanwhile, Smith, looking for more than the $8.5 million signing bonus the Bengals gave Peter Warrick last year, said from Missouri Monday night he has yet to reach the point where he'll step in and tell Jim Steiner to get a deal.

Seymour, taken two spots behind Smith with the sixth pick by the Patriots, received the kind of signing bonus the Bengals had hoped to avoid.

Because this year's salary cap limitation prevent teams from giving their first-round draft picks the same amount of money as last year,

players are trying to get around this year's rookie pool with the future bonus.

Seymour received $4.8 million to sign this year and $3.2 million next year and his first three season salaries are another guaranteed $3 million, according to reports.

"It shows that type of structure is a way to do the contract and deal with the circumstances from this year's cap," said Steiner of the Seymour deal.

Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said the Seymour deal doesn't mean Cincinnati has to do the same thing.

"There are different ways to get to the same number," Blackburn said. "The teams obviously don't like it because it makes the rookie pool meaningless. Just because one team did it doesn't mean we have to do it. But let's see what happens."

The Bengals' reported offer to Smith is a six-year, $17.25 million deal with a $7.5 million bonus, which could be harmed by Seymour's $8 million over two years.

But it's believed the Bengals have incentives in the package that double the total deal and give Smith's contract a higher value than Warrick's deal over six years.

Smith reiterated Monday he's not looking for much more than Warrick's bonus and that he's not bitter. But he's hoping the deal can get done by this week so he can play in the pre-season opener.

"It's business. A lot of the teams are having trouble signing guys," Smith said. "I think I should be able to (contribute) if I can get in there pretty soon."

INJURY CALL: Rookie tight end Sean Brewer is day-to-day after suffering a grade one concussion in Monday's practice. . .LG Matt O'Dwyer is also day-to-day after missing Monday with an ankle that was not seriously tweaked Sunday. . .DT Glen Steele, who sprained his ankle running Fourth of July, has been cleared and will practice Tuesday.

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