One of Cincinnati's biggest roster questions is what to do with former No. 6 overall pick Andre Smith? The offensive tackle and 2009 first-round pick has an important clause in his contract that has to be addressed this offseason.
The Bengals and Smith had a difficult negotiation that led to a lengthy contract holdout two years ago. Both sides settled on a four-year contract that could be extended to a six-year, $42 million deal after the 2010 season.
Now, after two disappointing and injury-plagued years, the deadline has arrived and the Bengals have to make a decision.
Here is the breakdown of Smith's contract:
Cincinnati has 15 days into the new league year to keep Smith's deal at four years or give him a two-year extension. But Cincinnati's decision could be delayed because it's unknown when the new league year will begin if there is a lockout and a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached.
If the Bengals extend Smith's contract for two additional years, he will receive a $4.75 million option bonus. Smith's base salaries would be $3.5 million in 2013 and $8 million in 2014.
Smith could also earn an extra $500,000 each year in workout bonuses for 2013 and 2014.
This is a lot of money and confidence to invest in Smith, who has been a major disappointment so far in Cincinnati. So expect the Bengals to pass on giving Smith additional millions of dollars and two extra years.
With only five career starts in two seasons, Smith must work on getting healthy and staying in shape for 2011. Minus the extension, Smith has just two seasons left to prove he's not another draft bust for the struggling Bengals.