On Wednesday, I posited this theory: the way Mike Brown handles contract disputes — with Carson Palmer being the most recent example — deters quality free agents from seriously considering playing in Cincinnati. (Of course, his 114-205-1 record as owner is an even bigger deterrent.) This free agency period is going to be a great test to prove or disprove my theory.
We all know that MB is required under the new CBA to spend a couple of Brinks trucks full of money (like $30M-$40M) before the end of the season. And we expected one of those trucks to go to re-signing JJoe and Leon Hall. Now that JJoe is going to play for Houston, who is he going to bring in with the money that was supposed to go to JJoe?
Obviously, one of two things will happen. 1) The Bengals will pursue one of the few big names left at CB, S, RB or OL, or 2) they will bring in a bunch of JAGs (Just A Guy).
If my theory is correct, not only will we not see the Bengals bring in a big name free agent, we won’t even hear rumors that they are pursuing one. Instead, they will sign a few mediocre guys and a couple of rehab projects, and then all of JJoe’s money will go to re-signing soon-to-be free agents like Andre Caldwell, Keith Rivers, Andre Smith, etc. It is certainly better than Antonio Bryant part 2, but it is not a way to get their hands on difference-makers when they have the cash to do it.
UPDATE: Joe Reedy reports via twitter that the salary floor does not begin until 2013. So look forward to a monstrously large bonus for the Bengals’ G.M. this year as there is apparently no requirement that the Brinks trucks be emptied this year or next. Oh goodie. So the money cleared by cutting Odom and placing Carson on the “Reserve/Did Not Report” list just go to the bottom line. This insures that Brown will maintain at least $12M in cap space so that Carson can not pull a power play to force a trade by showing up at PBS if the Bengals were to get under that cushion.