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A few observations on dealmaking

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on July 25, 2011 – 9:58 am

With the lockout seemingly in its last hours, a few observations:

» Great day. The game is back. But it’s a little unsettling. What does it say about a society where a sports league gets a CBA before the government gets an agreement on the debt crisis? The answer will be in your next quarter’s 401k.

» Amazing how the media could report on the negotiations while at the same time patting themselves on the back. NFL Network and ESPN did a hell of a job, but they didn’t have to keep telling us they did.

» Is there any doubt now that the NFL is truly a deadline league? The true drop-dead date had to be Monday or Tuesday all along if the idea from the get-go was to keep the preseason schedule intact. Quite ironic since everyone seems to agree the preseason works for no one and that this one is going to be one of the first casualties of the new CBA. But who can be surprised? The only time anything seems to get done in free agency, signing rookies, coaching searches, anything, it always goes down to the last minute.

» One nice thing about the fast-forwarded timeline is that there isn’t going to be time for those numbing free-agent tours. It melts down to the two things that only matter in free agency: Money and playing time. The Bengals should do OK in the hunt for a running back even if they sign Cedric Benson. An appetizer at the Georgetown Applebee’s and a glance at offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s playbook designed to protect a rookie quarterback should guarantee plenty of work. Plus, Gruden loves to throw to his backs.

» The powers-that-be have changed the game dramatically with the new practice rules and reduced offseason. By the time this CBA expires a decade from now, we could be watching a game that more resembles flag football than what Paul Brown brought from the AAFC to the NFL in 1950. And that is the best thing for the health of players, which is what has to be the No. 1 priority of everyone in the league. The league and players should be applauded for it. But it is also going to make for a different game and it’s going to be riveting to see how the game evolves over this CBA.

» We’ll know when the new league starts. Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. It’s the day the Bengals officially tell teams they’re not trading Palmer.

» How many players do you take to camp? Do you take the maximum 90 for fear of injury? Or do you take fewer than 80 because you have to give the Opening Day players most of the reps because they have had none since January? Throw in a new offense and just how many players do you take?

» The new rookie pool is an intriguing item. The reports keep saying there is anti-holdout language, but that there is plenty of room to negotiate a deal. Those two don’t seem to follow.


Posted in Hobson's Choice | 33 Comments »


33 Responses to “A few observations on dealmaking”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    OK…so as you say Hobs, the Bengals will immediatley reiterate the “we’re not trading Palmer” mantra as soon as trades are allowed. But I don’t see this as black and white, never have. I still think it’s a chess game. What if Palmer shows up at camp. NOt shows up to compete or play for real…but to simply be there, go through the motions and collect his paycheck. Doesn’t this put the Bengals’s in a heck of financial situation for the season. There will be a date Palmer will have to decide to retire or show up at camp, or he will be refusing to comply with his contract and then the Bengal’s could eventually suspend him without pay, or a host of other actions. Hob’s my question is when is that time frame going to be? Once camp starts, how long does Palmer have to show up, retire, or begin to be diciplined and docked pay?

  2. By bernier2 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    What do you think will happen with Carson Palmer’s previous bonus and the new cap if he retires? The old cap used to pro-rate bonuses over the life of the contract. But, if a player was traded or released the bonus accelerated to the current year’s cap.

  3. By mwindle1973 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs second line of questioning here. With Benson and Adam Jones’ recent legal problems looming, how do you think this could effect there status with the team. I know Jones claims his name will be cleared in the end. Otherwise he could go to prison. Benson’s case seems more clear cut. So will we still be looking to sing Benson as our first choice or could this make our eye roam a little? With Jones…is he contracted already for this season? I thought he was. If so could this effect his roster spot…or do you think this will have to be a wait and see situation?

  4. By mwindle1973 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    Last quick comment here…I know everyone is in love with Green, including me. But I think this is going to be Jerome Simpson’s year. I predict not only will he become a top NFL WR this year, but he will also become a team leader as well. Even if Chad stays for the season, I not sure he can beat Simpson out for the X spot. Which could lead into another of the most pressing questions of the offseason. WHich is Ocho’s status. He could be on his way out of Cincy within a couple weeks.

  5. By overthroensamoan on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    Agree totally on the ESPN comments. They truely jumped the gun when they decided to run the 3 hour primetime special celebrating the players voting to end the lockout. 15 minutes in they find out no vote would even be taken. These next couple of days are going to be a mess. And once again I think the Bengals will be left behind. Where is MB going to find the staff to sign his own FAs sign the undrafted FAs as well as signing his starting WR and QB not to mention the rest of his draft picks and get all involved in on time. MB might have to call on some first cousins and nephews to get this done.

  6. By jamison007 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    Given that our squad is facing a compressed schedule, Coach Lew’s bet on Jay’s WCO is hopefully going to be a difference maker on O and the move last year to keep a well paid Zimmer should pay off nicely for us on D. However, I submit to Coach Lew that he must Take Back the Locker Room so that his young talent can flourish. Simply put, trade Ocho and do not re-sign Owens. If Lewis wants an identity on O, then he has to give his squad a fresh start that can allow our real studs with great attitudes to go out and compete. Simpson, Shipley, Caldwell and Green. Of all the seasons to not waste ANY time, this is it – and there is clearly a way for the executive part of this team to make an early and big contribution to our Super Bowl success….sign our people as early and quickly as possible…don’t let the back-office hold this team back from gelling ASAP…the faster we gel, the better chance we have, period. I am expecting our execs to KNOW THIS.

  7. By bengalanthony13 on Jul 25, 2011 | Reply

    Trade Chad, trade Carson, let Benson and his baggage walk. Re-signing Jospph should be the first order of business. Then focus on re-singing Brian Leonard, Brandon Johnson and Jon Fanene. Once that’s all done, look outside to get a FA Running Back, Defensive Lineman, Quarterback and Safety. If they get all of this accomplished, they’re not as far away as people think. On Thursday, I received an (automated) e-mail letter from Katie Blackburn and Marvin Lewis–curiously, no signature from Mike Brown. In it, they FINALLY claimed that they would do everything they could to “get back to the Super Bowl”. The above-mentioned player transactions are where to start. Pay your key guys top dollar to retain them, and look outside to get remaining pieces. The Bengals and the Brown family have roughly $30-$40 million to spend in order to hit the salary cap floor, not to mention get up to 90 total players for their training camp roster. Spend the money–WISELY. And, don’t be afraid to get rid of players that supposedly don’t want to be here. No one man is bigger than the team–even if it’s the “Franchise Quarterback”.

  8. By hobsonschoice1 on Jul 26, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY: I doubt very much Carson pulls that. I think the time frame is simple. They report, he doesn’t show up, they put him on the reserved/did not report list. If he wants to file papers, up to him.

    They’re still looking to sign Benson, but I also think they’re looking to get another back in the wake of the legal stuff. Yet I think the league has a tough time legally imposing discipline during a lockout.

    Jones has another year left on his deal, but I think his neck injury puts his status very much in doubt.

    Yes, The Ocho could be gone. But I think they wait to see if they have their ducks in a row before making a move. I would think the Green pick sealed it, but they haven’t seen him yet.

    No question. A lot of pressure on the front office. But if they don’t get a guy, it won’t be because they were’t prepared or needed more negotiators. On Monday night, the CFA signings went off as usual with the scouts working with assistant coaches even though the league gave them only a half-hour lead time.

  9. By mwindle1973 on Jul 26, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs…thanks for the answers and insights! It seems ESPN analysts think you are wrong and they believe Brown will cave and trade Palmer. I’m not going to pretend to have a guess how it turns out. Does Palmer have the option to return after he is placed on the DNR list. Doesn’t he have the option to show up in a week and just take discipline from the team? Can I pick your brain again? ESPN also reported we have the 5th most cap space of all teams…30-something million to spend up. The also reported the new CBA requires teams to spend 90 or 95% (can’t remember which) of the current cap. They also reported that JJoe will be the 2nd highest paid CB in free agency. They also stated that his salary could be huge. Should we pay top dollar for him? He is a top 10 CB. Also that leaves some money to play with after we sign the rookies and our own free agents. Do you see us spending in free agency or waiting and signing some of our guys to new deals during the season?

  10. By mwindle1973 on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    I know this…after letting this all sink in for a few couple days it’s become obvious our front office still has a lot of heavy lifting left to do. We have plenty of signings to do and just a few more days to get it all worked out. I have the feeling we may see some more new faces and goodbye to some old ones before it’s all over. I know this too…I want Carson back!! I think Dalton will do fine. But in a foolish, child-like way I still hold out hope Carson will show up Friday ready to lead the team all the way. That’s funnys stuff there isn’t it? I can’t help it though. I believe in Dalton. But you just never know about theses things. I sure hope we can shore the Oline up a little for him. I think your going to see the D roar back in a big way this season. And next to protection that’s the best gift we can give Dalton.

  11. By overthroensamoan on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    Robert Gallery would be a great pickup. I hope these rumors are legit. Priority number 1 must be solidify the OL

  12. By turryg on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    What free agent would sign with the Bengals after Browns statement about refusing to trade Palmer. Gallery can’t run fast enough to Seattle. JJO will be gone too. The only FA we’ll ever sign are those on the decline. We could probally get Delhomme.

  13. By aesculusg on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    Interesting comments on Mike & Mike about Mike Brown’s position. They point out that the Bengals(ie Mike Brown) have no problem cutting a player before the contract is over if the player is underperforming. But he is quite sanctimonious when speaking about players wanting to end a contract early. Hypocrisy??? or Principles???? You make the call… From where I am sitting, Mike only cares about winning when he can do it as a part of his other priorities, which are 1) making the maximum money possible while spending the absolute minimum necessary and 2) looking good in front of his peers (ie the other owners). Given a choice, he would choose making money first, followed by looking good to his peers. Unfortunately for Bengal’s fans, winning comes in a distant third if done without the other two.

  14. By 2ndboot on Jul 27, 2011 | Reply

    Palmer hanging out just to get a paycheck? Get real.. He walked and is fine with it. He has his Harvard business degree and all his past paychecks so unless he turned crackhead in the off-season Palmer sticking around for a mere paycheck is the least of Mike Brown’s problems.. Getting another QB ready now is another issue. I don’t see Chad as a Bengal again and it’s going to be a tough sell for him to latch onto a team not short of receivers and the odds of them resigning both him and TO are about as good as Sarah Palin getting an Ivy League degree and becoming the Democratic nominee. I am a bit concerned about Benson and Jones, but JJoe will likely return.. As far as training camp it would seem they could bring in 90 and see how fast they can run things to evaluate players, but I’ve never had a job as an NFL coach so I’ll have to leave that up to NFL coaches to decide.

  15. By ljubi22 on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    Mr. Brown,

    I am a prominent business owner and I can understand an owner not allowing an employee to dictate ownership decisions. With that being said, every employee has a value… based upon performance, pay and intangible contributions, you can calculate a value. Once that value is calculated, it can be used to find a replacement or fill a void. You found Carson’s replacement. You signed a veteran QB to back-up and mentor that replacement. DONE DEAL. If you do not negotiate a transaction to fill a void in your staff, you are wasting a valuable bargaining chip to better your team, better your ownership legacy and most importantly better your ownership sentiment in Cincinnati. Please remove your emotions from this situation and manage this team based upon your financial principals from the past. The new terms of the CBA will work to the advantage of an owner who operates his business as you do.

  16. By mwindle1973 on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    Gradkowski was a perfect fit IMO. He already familar with the system for one. But he’s what we needed. Someone who would be alright with not starting. But who could start if Dalton can’t get the offense fast enough or is injured or otherwise doesn’t work out. He gives us time is Dalton needs a few more weeks too. And best of all he’s not going to back the bank either. The best news of the offseason perhaps was Andre Smith weighing in at 338 lbs. I’ve seen enough from him the past 2 seasons to believe he could be elite if he solved his weight issues. If he starts dominating at RT and then we have elite bookends again…which may have been the most important part of the ’05 team. Now if we can just land Benson, JJoe & a safety we will be out of the deep woods, and well on our way to a phenomenal turn around after the debacle of a ten game losing streak, the end of the sellout streak, the Marvin will he stay or will he go will Brown still love him so episode, the Carson retire me or fire me or trade me or something else everlasting saga, the firing of Brat, and last but not least the lockout.

  17. By mwindle1973 on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    Also found out the salary floor is $108M and the cap is $120M. As of Monday we were $35.9M below the salary floor according to ESPN. They also noted that if you take out Palmer’s $11.5M and Ocho’s $6.35M, that we would then have just under $54M to spend to get to floor. Of course it has to be considered that you don’t have to be at the salary floor when the season begins, just when it ends. So teams can choose to save space and sign their own towards the end of the season to get to the minimum.

  18. By mwindle1973 on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    I loved Ocho, I still have a Chad Johnson jersey. WIll always be a huge fan. But this move is long overdue. This is finally Marvin Lewis’ team. If it wasn’t already, it’s now definitely his team to mold in his likeness now. I feel like we are finally threading a continuity between Marvin’s vision for the team, our coaching staff, players, and finally the front office decisions. Now all we have to hope for is JJoe & Benson deals, and bolster up the safety position and Oline. Who knows there may be cuts coming to at some point. You never know if the team will want to clear cap space by cutting Odom. I doubt that but who knows. We’ll await the next newsflash…

  19. By jamison007 on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

    Friends…I have been critical of Mr. Brown in the past, but I am objectively seeing reasons to give him an ‘at a boy. First, it definitely looks like MB is actually allowing ML to take full responsibility of the team. I was posting consistently about the fact that Ocho wouldn’t and just can’t help the team psyche much, as he has lost control of his own. Maybe he will find it again in NE…but it wouldn’t have happened in Cincy…so thank you ML, our O locker room morale will boost as dudes who have been working hard can seize the moment and create our identity. Which is why it is also brilliant to act as fast as possible to sign Green and be done with that so he can get to work right away. Plus, the truth is that it is better for the Bengals to allow CP to retire, as businesswise, it actually gives MB some credit towards his salary minimum and keeps the business of our team in better shape. Finally, I have idolized CP for what I have observed as true champion character. I am willing to bet that with a locker room of young, committed studs, CP’s eyes will find a way to look back and think…who knows? Despite that, get psyched AD!!! Get ready, be fueled, be trained…focus! Who Dey!

  20. By kschoenfel01 on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    No everyone understands how bad the bengals organization must be when we can’t sign one of our best players even though it is our top priority and we have to spend about 40 million dollars more, but still cannot sign them. Seriously, what are we doing we have to spend 40 million dollars more, that means you get your best players by whatever means. I sit here and watch all of these free agents being signed and the bengals have nothing to do with it! I don’t understand what we are waiting for?!?!? Go out and spend some money WE HAVE TO!!

  21. By bengalpirate on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    With Jonathan Joseph signing with the Texans, our potential shutdown defense has a gaping hole in it. Throw in Rivers surgery, lack of depth at CB, questions at the MLB spot and it has all the makings of a training camp disaster. It is my hope that the young CB’s stay healthy and step up big time, Rey thrives in his return to his natural position and the defensive line carries the defense for a few games. On another note, I really like the Gradkowski signing, Andre Smith coming into camp in shape and signing Green so quickly. I wonder what surprises the next 2 days and next week will bring? WHO DEY!!!

  22. By mybengalswhy on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    Ok every year with Mike Brown is the same.. Looks like we got some hope for change… Get the same results, just more wondering why do i stay a bengals fan… If we do have that much cap room to spend make a splash…Fans have been loyal to your family for years…Why cant you throw us some scraps

  23. By mwindle1973 on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    If JJoe had signed with a perennial playoff contender I would have understood. But the Texans! Is this organization that bad…or did he want to be the top CB on the team which will never happen as long as Hall is here. IDK, but we put out enough money to get him back. It just wasn’t in the cards. It is a blow to the plans…IDK I just didn’t think there was any chance we didn’t get him back. Naive huh? Oh well, now we just have to add that to the needs list. I would be terribly concerned but I know Zimmer can transform mediocre CBs into regular contributors. I’m sure if we get him a decent CB he will mold him into what we need.

  24. By domsbuddy on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    This has been a very disappointing first couple of days of the new season. I was hoping with all the extra cap room that the Bengals would be aggressive and keep all their key players and then add a few parts to upgrade us at key spots. Everytime I turn around we’re releasing guys and not picking anyone up. I don’t have a problem with the players they released, but right now we look awful thin in the secondary and we still haven’t signed Benson or his replacement. I’m concerned that were going to get lit up in the passing game and not have a running game to protect the quarterback. .

  25. By whodis614 on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    All i want to know is what is going on? We let Joseph go! Whats up with that? We got like 50 mil. in cap. We give Ocho away for nothing? Keeping Palmer? We sign GRADKOWSKI?? We’ve made no noise in free agency period except for negetive talk about our crappy front office staff and owner. When will it ever pay off? Or better yet when will I be able to show my face as a Bengals fan???? Even local radio and T.V. stations are smashing us as i type this. Hey Mike!!! Quit bein a lawyer all the time and just be a fan once. Taxpayers pay your bills anyway. And us fans are the reason you make money in the first place. Give us somthing to cheer for! Please? Pretty please can you run this football team right and quit giving the Patriots rings….??…. You a Pats fan??? Just wondering…

  26. By aesculusg on Jul 29, 2011 | Reply

    As far as Joseph is concerned, ESPN reported that the Bengals had a chance to re-sign him before the lockout but kept trying to low-ball him…

    Another case of picking up pennys on the street, making you late for work and then getting fired for being late…STUPID but predictable. It is just so frustrating because it is the same scenario we had when Lindner owned the Reds…

  27. By mwindle1973 on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    As of Friday night these are the players who were on the team that we have heard no news of signings yet…RB Cedric Benson, RB Brian Leonard, LB Brandon Johnson, MLB Dhani Jones, S Chinedum Ndukwe, DL Jon Fanene (reports of talks), S Roy Williams, TE Reggie Kelly. At this point one has to be a little concerned.

  28. By mwindle1973 on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    There are 31 (number could’ve raised with this years draft) Samoans & Tongans playing in the NFL. We now have 5 on our roster. Giving us about 16% of the total Polynesians in the NFL. Our newest one Duece Lutui is the cousin of Vai Sikahema, the first Tongan to play in the NFL. He was a top KR/PR in the late 80/early 90s.

  29. By kschoenfel01 on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    It really makes no sense that we have not signed someone big available in free agency even if it’s an O-lineman or whatever we have to spend money what are we waiting for? Everyone has already started and I feel like we are trying to pick up whoever is left over…I ask that question of why I stay a Bengals fan, but its hard to stop, they have been tempting me with these past few years of playoff contention runs. However, it does not excuse how we are treated as fans. We are devout fans, and it makes me sick watching teams like the Eagles get great players and we sit and watch and wait…for WHAT?? It’s ridiculous!

  30. By mwindle1973 on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    Back to Carson for one quick comment…someone in here said I was crazy for thinking he would pull a Brett Favre and unretire when we no longer have cap space for him. Maybe it isn’t Palmer’s “style” or whatever makes people think he’s not capable of it. Let me be clear…I’m not saying he’s going to come hang out for money…I’m suggesting he might wait until we haven’t got cap room for his 11.5M salary then show up so we have to cut or trade him. Why would he not? It was reported he trained and prepared all offseason in the same manner he has since entering the NFL. SOunds like a guy who plans on playing football again at some point even if it’s next year. Nothing Palmer has ever said points to him wanting to retire. All his statements point to him wanting to play for another team. While this is a back burner issue right now. It’s not over…and when it may be least expected it may rear it’s ugly head again. Although I think Brown has a plan that keeps it from happening until next season.

  31. By mwindle1973 on Jul 30, 2011 | Reply

    Nate Clements is a good as we could’ve expected to do this offseason to replace JJoe. He’s as good or better. His skills may fit Zimmer’s scheme even better. Now we just have to get a RB or 2 signed, a S, TE and maybe a OLB. Anything wlse would be to upgrade a position.

  32. By whodeysteve on Jul 31, 2011 | Reply

    I just wanted to say, happy birthday to A.J. Green. Also I’m hoping that the “Ginger Avenger” Andy Dalton truly is the 2nd coming of Kenny Anderson, like Cris Collinsworth said he thinks he can be. Good luck to the rookies, Big Whit and the team.

  33. By cincytodd814 on Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

    OK Hobs – I know this will go no where but maybe you can help me understand why Mike Brown continues to hurt the team by making decisions based on personal issues versus what is best for team; TRADE PALMER while there is a market!! Miami would love him, we waited too long to have a plethora of options but Miami is still there as is perhaps Buffalo, get what you can and be done instead of making the team and himself look bad with his press conferences. No one in NFL, owners nor players honor their contracts!!

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