Tag:Cincinnati Bengals
Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:28 am
 

Bengals ink CB Leon Hall to $39 million extension

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When the Bengals opted not to re-sign 2006 first-round pick cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and the Texans eventually gave him $48.75 million over five years to bolster their secondary, it was clear that the team would make a concerted effort to keep cornerback Leon Hall.

(Even if the Bengals wanted him back, it's not clear Joseph would've returned. In July, ESPN's John Clayton said Joseph "would leave Cincinnati for a dollar more than the Bengals are offering.")

That's exactly what happened Friday. 

Earlier in the week, the team traded for cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former Seahawks first-rounder, and now the Bengals have extended Hall, one of the best players on the team. It's a four-year, $39-million contract extension that will keep him in Cincy through 2015, according to ESPN.

CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner adds that the deal includes $14.1 million guarantees (his 2011 salary increases to $5.1 million from $3 million, and he gets a $9 million roster bonus), and that extending Hall was on the radar before Joseph left for Houston. ESPN adds that he's expected to receive another $5 million roster bonus March 1.  

Dehner writes that "Hall, 26, has more interceptions (18) than any player his age or younger except the Jets' Antonio Cromartie, also 26 with 18 interceptions. In fact, only 10 active players younger than 30 have more picks than the Bengals corner." He's now tasked with leading a defense that must keep the Bengals in games while the offense finds its way with rookie quarterback Andy Dalton under center. 

In addition to the Jennings trade and the Hall extension, the Bengals last week traded for safety Taylor Mays, who had fallen out of favor in San Francisco after just one season. On Wednesday, the team also extended left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 7:02 pm
 

Report: Carson Palmer, Bengals met in late July

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After Andy Dalton had a terrible first preseason game for the Bengals -- you might remember that Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden had a great back-handed compliment, saying “it wasn’t a total debacle” -- you had to wonder if the Bengals would put in a call to Carson Palmer.

The Carson Palmer Saga
But then Dalton redeemed himself a bit by playing better in a subsequent exhibition, and though it’s still clear that the Bengals offense will probably struggle this year, Bengals fans went back to hating Palmer for leaving the team.

But apparently the Bengals HAVE been talking to Palmer, as ESPN’s Bob Holtzman, via Rotoworld, reports Palmer traveled to Cincinnati in late July to talk with the team about possibly returning.

It’s interesting news considering owner Mike Brown said this in July: "I'm not expecting him to be back. Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment. He gave us his word. We relied on his word and his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he is going to walk away from his commitment we aren’t going to reward him for doing it."

I still don’t think we’ll see Palmer on the field with the Bengals, but it’s fascinating that the possibility still exists. Or did as late as July.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:25 pm
 

What do the Bengals hope to get from Taylor Mays?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Taylor Mays, the safety from USC taken by the 49ers in the second round of the 2010 draft, was traded to the Bengals nine days ago. At the time, the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but various outlets are now reporting that San Francisco got a 2013 seventh-round pick for their troubles. It doesn't take much draft-math calculating to figure out that it's a shoddy return-on-investment for the 49ers, who saw enough in one season to give up on a player with through-the-roof measurables but not much in the way of on-field ability.

So, naturally, Mays ends up in Cincinnati.

The move didn't immediately make sense (at least in terms of Mays filling an obvious void in the secondary); the team had Roy Williams on the roster for the '09 and '10 season and he didn't make much of impact. Mays is similar to Williams in that he's supposed to be a hard-hitting safety, but he comes without the NFL track record or Pro Bowl pedigree.

There's also the issue of the Bengals willingly giving up a draft pick when, earlier this month, the 49ers sent out a mass email to 31 teams asking if there was any interest in Mays. At the time, there were no takers but the implication was that, barely a year after San Francisco had drafted him, Mays would be released before the start of the season.

It never got to that point.

Maybe the Bengals should've waited until Mays was cut to go after him. But if they really wanted him, you could argue that they were smart to give up just a seventh-rounder ... two years from now. It allowed the team to get Mays for literally next to nothing while also guaranteeing he wouldn't hit the open market.

But we still don't know why Cincinnati acquired Mays. He didn't show much as a rookie and the feeling around the league was that he probably never would.

So we asked CBS analyst, Cincinnati resident, and former NFL defensive back Solomon Wilcots what the Bengals might be thinking.

"Clearly, a player like Mays does have some ability … but you've got to have a plan for him because he hasn't proven that he can embrace all the elements of what it means to be a good defensive back in the NFL, whether its coverage, run-stopping, or quarterbacking your secondary," Wilcots told CBSSports.com recently.

"But for (defensive coordinator) Mike Zimmer and the Cincinnati Bengals defense, they've been lacking that big physical presence at the safety position. And traditionally, they have loved to have that kind of David Fulcher-type player. I think that's kind of what they're thinking (with Mays), I think they'd love to have a guy they can use in all their blitz packages.

 
Then-49ers coach Mike Singletary was instrumental in bringing Taylor Mays to San Francisco. Now it will be up to Bengals' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (center) and head coach Marvin Lewis (right) to mold Mays into an NFL safety. (Getty Images)  
"Remember," Wilcots continued, "their head coach, Marvin Lewis, was a defensive coordinator … they understand that if they have a safety who can change the line of scrimmage -- whether it's stuffing the run or pressuring the quarterback in the blitz packages -- and have him be an in-the-box defender, (in theory) it makes them a much better defense. And this defense is going to have to carry the team. You have such a young offense, young quarterback, young wide receivers. … I think that's just some of the psychology behind (making the trade). Now whether or not Mays can do all those things remains to be seen."

As for why the Bengals would trade for a player destined to get cut? One reason, according to Wilcots, could be that the team needed to bolster the position and were willing "taking a flier on him."

He continued: "I think the reasons why a lot of other teams passed, they were probably hoping that [the 49ers] would release him and they'd get him (for nothing). But he hasn't proven that he can do those things and these were some of the questions we had on him coming out of USC. Great specimen but not what we'd call an instinctive football player. The bar is so high when it comes to the Adrian Wilsons, the Ed Reeds, the Troy Polamalus -- big play-making safeties -- that's what we were wanting to see from Mays coming out. We saw that in Eric Berry. We saw it from Earl Thomas. We didn't see that with (Mays)."

It's a no-risk proposition for the Bengals, a team in transition and with needs at key positions on the roster, including safety. Worst case: Mays doesn't work out, the two sides go their separate ways, and the all the Bengals lose is a 2013 seventh-rounder. Best case: Mays flourishes in Zimmer's system and he proves his doubters wrong.

Either way, Cincy has much bigger problems heading into 2011, starting with the aforementioned young quarterback and the group of young pass-catchers.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 10:52 pm
 

Why Jennings is an important piece for Bengals

K. Jennings was traded from Seattle to Cincinnati (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After losing Johnathan Joseph to Houston in free agency and with Adam Jones battling injuries and potentially about to miss at least the first six games of the season, the Bengals were in need of some help in their secondary.

That’s why Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson calls it a “no brainer” that Cincinnati would trade defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to the Seahawks for cornerback Kelly Jennings. Automatically, Jennings -- a former first-round draft pick -- becomes Leon Hall’s tandem partner as long as Jones isn’t playing.

As Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner Jr., points out, the deal also might be bad news for Brandon Ghee -- who now finds himself squarely up against the 53-man roster bubble, even though he was a 2010 third-round pick. This is what Zimmer had to say about Ghee, who has not played in any preseason games this year, earlier today: “We've got to play him a lot this week and see where he's at. Athletically, we have seen that. It’s about finishing plays and making plays."

It’s the second trade in eight days the Bengals have made to help Cincinnati improve the secondary: already, the Bengals gave up a seventh-round pick in 2013 for former 49ers safety Taylor Mays.

Obviously, Cincinnati has no problem swapping personnel with other NFL teams. And after the Jennings swap, Zimmer intimated the Bengals might not be done making trades. Somewhere in southern California, Carson Palmer gnashes his teeth.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 5:01 pm
 

Cedric Benson sentenced to 20 days in jail

BensonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

You remember when Cedric Benson got arrested for assault, right? No, not the one from last month when he was accused of beating up his former roommate. No, I’m talking about the one from 2010 when he punched an Austin, Texas, bartender in the face after management tried to kick him out of the establishment.

Well, Benson was set to go to trial today, but instead, at the last minute, the prosecution and Benson’s team agreed to a plea deal. According to KXAN’s Chris Sadeghi, Benson pleaded no contest to the assault charge and was sentenced to 20 days in jail and a $4,000 fine.

As the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Joe Reedy writes, Benson will turn himself in during the Bengals Oct. 17 bye week and will spend the week in jail. Assuming he gets credit for good behavior, Benson will have served his time. He should be back in Cincinnati by Oct. 26 ready to return to the team.

“We are pleased that Mr. Benson took responsibility for his actions today,” assistant Travis County prosecuting attorney Corby Holcomb told the Austin American Statesman, via Reedy.

As for that most recent assault? Holcomb said Benson would enter into a deferred prosecution agreement. That means the charge will be dismissed if Benson stays clear of the law for a year. Holcomb also said Benson will serve 30 hours of community service and will pay about $5,000 worth of restitution to Clavens Charles, his former roommate.

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Posted on: August 29, 2011 2:55 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 7:31 pm
 

Ndamukong Suh: I'm dirty 'when my mom tells me'

Posted by Will Brinson

Following the recent Detroit whipping of New England, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote a column about Ndamukong Suh and how he's offically become a dirty player at this (early) point in his career.

The piece generated a groundswell of opinion from fans and media alike and on Monday, Suh was asked what he thought about being dirty. And he continued to defend his play, as well as use his mother as a reference for clean play in the NFL.

"I’m going to continue to play hard and play within the rules as I have been," Suh told CBSSports.com's Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger. "When I'll consider myself a dirty player is when my mom tells me [I am]."

Suh also discussed the "punch" he threw at Logan Mankins, which he claims was necessary for the defense of a teammate.

"Everything happens in the trenches," Suh said. "You’re not just going to sit there [as a] teammate and walk away from ... your (teammate) being grabbed by his facemask."

Additionally, Suh said he didn't regret the incident and that he felt it fell within the "legal" boundaries of what's acceptable on a football field.

"Do I regret (the incident)? No," Suh told Kreger. "The funny thing about the whole situation is that I wasn’t the one who got the 15-yard penalty for grabbing the facemask ... I didn’t know you can’t help protect one of your teammates."

You can protect your teammates, but throwing punches at another player is a pretty quick way to pick up a large fine from the league. Suh said he didn't receive any penalty, however, because he discussed the incident with the officials at Saturday's game.

"I had a great conversation with the ref who saw the (incident)," Suh told Kreger. "He said, 'Next time, make sure you let me handle the situation, but I understand what you were doing, helping your teammate out.'"

The question is whether or not the league will understand what Suh was doing. And even if the guys who hand out fines at the NFL do get that he was protecting his teammate, it might not matter much, as Suh could certainly be facing a fine from the 280 Park Avenue.

In the meantime, expect plenty of continued debate about whether or not Suh is a dirty player (and feel free to weigh in below!). I'm personally of the opinion that he's so freaking strong it's nearly impossible for him not to look dirty and that certain incidents -- namely, the Jake Delhomme rag-doll toss in the 2010 preseason -- have led to the development of a reputation that Suh will find very hard to shake.

That's precisely why everyone was in an uproar (the league to the tune of $20,000) when he accidentally popped off Andy Dalton's helmet, and it's precisely why when he throws a punch there's more concern than if another NFL player did so.

But that's also part of being a defensive superstar with freakishly terrifying strength -- people are going to be keeping a closer eye on you.



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Posted on: August 27, 2011 2:58 pm
 

It's official: there are no Palmers left in Cincy

J. Palmer, C. PalmerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that shouldn’t have surprised anybody, the Bengals officially have made themselves 100 percent Palmer-free. That’s because the team announced today that it’s waived backup quarterback Jordan Palmer -- who you might know better as Carson’s brother.

Jordan Palmer, who had been the No. 3 quarterback in Cincinnati since signing with the team in 2008 until last season, became Carson’s backup last year, and in four regular-season appearances during his Bengals career, he completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and three interceptions.

But with the drafting of Andy Dalton in the second round and with the signing of Bruce Gradkowski -- not to mention all the offseason drama between the Bengals and Carson -- it seemed pretty clear Jordan’s days in Cincinnati were coming to a close.

He barely played this preseason, and a couple weeks ago, I asked if the Bengals were screwing with Jordan.

Here was my conclusion:

“The question: would the management take out its frustration with Carson on Jordan? My opinion: I kind of doubt it. If the Bengals release Jordan Palmer -- who had designs on winning the starting job in June -- it would probably be because he simply hasn’t shown the team enough since 2008 to qualify for even a third-string QB position. I'd also like to think the Bengals have a little more class than meanly shoving out Jordan just to get back at Carson.”

Part of the reason I asked the question in the first place was because of the rumor that the Bengals wouldn’t give Jordan reps and then would cut him too late for him to sign with another team. Now that the Bengals have cut him to get down to 80 players on the roster with still a little bit of time left in the preseason, meaning it’s not too late for him to sign with somebody else theoretically, it seems the answer to my original question of the Bengals screwing Jordan is “probably not.”

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 10:44 am
 

Dolphins sign Larry Johnson, dump Kory Sheets

Posted by Will Brinson

The Dolphins signed running back Larry Johnson on Tuesday and released running back Kory Sheets, the team announced Tuesday.

This is a historic moment because Johnson and Reggie Bush may be (unofficially, of course) the two least-talented tweeting running backs in NFL history.

Bush, as you'll remember, sealed his fate with the Saints by tweeting "it's been fun" towards his old team and city when they drafted actual Heisman-possessor Mark Ingram in April. He was promptly shipped to Miami this offseason.

Johnson's social media prowess is much more well-documented: not only has he dropped homophobic slurs on Twitter, but he also called out Todd Haley there, and eventually managed to generate what I believe is the first Twitter-related suspension in sports history.

Of course, that was the middle of 2009, back when Johnson was already considered on the wrong side of relevant -- he was eventually cut by the Chiefs, landed with the Bengals for the remainder of 2009 and then found himself in Washington last season, where he piled up, um, two rushing yards before being released by the Redskins.

So we're a good ways removed from Johnson having any legitimate success. Needless to say, the Dolphins can't be expecting too much from him, especially with Daniel Thomas and Bush already on the roster and expected to get the majority of carries.

Perhaps most importantly from all of this, though, is the fact that Miami was so desperate for running back depth that they were the only team to bring in Tiki Barber for a workout. They did that before signing Johnson ... and still signed Larry Johnson.

Which really should put an end to any "Tiki comeback" rumors.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com