(before reading this, go read the Gold Star post below and TAKE THE SURVEY PLEASE, it is very important)
This offseason was bad before the last 48 hours. In sum, Carson Palmer, the franchise and dominant factor in what limited success the Bengals ever had under Mike Brown, threatened to retire if he wasn't traded and forgoe AN AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU WOULD THAT YOU WOULD MURDER YOUR OWN MOTHER TO HAVE FOR YOURSELF. In typical dipshit fashion, Mike Brown escalates the stand off and CARSON WILL ACTUALLY FUCKING RETIRE. AT AGE 31.
\reads this, then loses it again completely
Then, THEN, as if voluntarily sending the core of the franchise into early retirement and getting no value in return wasn't enough...free agency hits and the Bengals execute their strategy...which literally amounts to Mike Brown walking out into the middle of PBS and taking a HUGE DUMP ON THE FIELD. Allow me to explain.
Factoring in that Carson's salary is gone from the books, the Bengals are TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars below the alleged salary floor assuming they keep everyone else on the roster in tact. FLOOR. NOT CAP. FLOOR. In case you don't understand the implications that means:
- They either spend money signing free agents (including their own) to get to the floor
- They don't spend anything, remain below the floor, and pay the difference without any DISCRETION WHATSOEVER BASED ON PLAYER'S MARKET VALUES OR MERITS
The only sane decision is BUY SOME FUCKING FREE AGENTS IN POSITIONS OF NEED. WHICH IS, LIKE, ALMOST EVERY POSITION. The Bengals notoriously never spend money in free agency (Coles & Bryant don't count, they were just replacing a departed TJ), but now, for once, they had not just the green light, but a BONAFIDE MANDATE TO SPEND SOME DOLLARS. Awesome, right? Well here is what the Bengals have done:
For starters, they traded Chad Johnson for about 90% less than they could have when he asked out YEARS ago. Think what you will about Chad now, but he was the only remaining veteran presence at WR, he was among the only bright spots in the past 20 years, and he was a MEGA TALENT. More practically, he would have counted for another $6 million towards the floor, which is $6 million of your fan money that Mike Brown couldn't totally WASTE. But now we are even further under the floor.
So then, you might think, "okay fine, Chad had long departed in spirit and effort anyway and it was time to move on. Plus, now we have to spend EVEN more so we can definitely make some moves." The defense is basically the Bengals only hope. It contains their only proven elite asset: their cornerbacks. GREAT, at least we can fucking lock them both down now since we gotta spend the money. Nope, Jonathan Joseph will now be a Texan FOR NO LOGICAL REASON AT ALL. GODDAMMIT.
Chad gone. JJoe gone. Now we're even further under the floor again. AND WE JUST CUT ANTAWN ODOM. WHO SUCKS NOW BUT WHATEVER WE GOT TO SPEND THE MONEY ANYWAY. AND SIGNING BRIAN LEONARD IS NOT A SOLUTION. THOMAS HOWARD HAS TWO FIRST NAMES. HE'S NOT TO BE TRUSTED!!! AND GRADKOWSKI? DIE!!!!!!!
I expect lunacy out of the Bengals front office. It's why this site exists. But even this behavior goes beyond what I ever thought capable.
Everything that was ever good, however limited, about the Bengals is sprinting for the exits. The man in charge not only remains uninterested in stopping this exodus, but he actually appears proud to continue causing it by standing by his terminally flawed and hypocritical "principles". More than that, things have spiraled so far out of control that every single decision the front office is making at this point appears to be the one that maximize the destruction of this Bengals team. Seriously, every choice they have made so far, from refusing to trade Carson and Chad, to releasing players this free agency (Odom), to failing to resign players despite having overwhelming resources (JJoe), to driving out ones who just want a chance (Mathis)...literally every choice inflicts maximum damage to this team. They have been bad before. Oh have they been bad. But this is a new level. It is so FUCKED and I see no hope to UNFUCK it.
How do the Bengals even meet the floor at this point? Our own beat reporter, Joe Reedy says this:
The debt ceiling problem is an easier one to solve
And you know what? HE'S RIGHT. What will likely end up happening is that we will blow equal money on mediocre replacements for everyone who has left or Mike Brown refuses to trade, saddling the team with shitty contracts not just this season but in the future, for players we will likely want to stab rather than watch. And you can bet Mike Zimmer, the best thing besides Carson Palmer to ever happen to Bengaldom, will flee for his life as soon as he can.
I can usually predict to some degree what dumb shit the Bengals will do (think bringing back Chris Henry, signing Pacman, letting Steinbach go, etc.) but this is a more virulent form of asshattery. It's so mindboggling idiotic that it makes me suspicious. And the only thing I can think of is that the salary floor is not going to really apply to the Bengals somehow. No, that can't be, right? Right? FUCKING RIGHT??!!! OMG LOOK AT THIS AND BE AFRAID.
So either the Bengals have finally, after two decades, completely disintegrated in terms of their ability to even function as an organization...or they are cynically dumping salary to simply cash in on a revenue-sharing-without-salary-floor BONANZA.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK FOLKS. THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY. I AM GOING TO DRINK AN ENTIRE LITER OF THIS RIGHT NOW. FUCK.
Important Update: from Pro Football Talk comes a simple outline of the CBA. In 2011-2012 teams must spend in aggregate 99% of the salary cap. So while there is no floor this year, the Bengals would have to make it all up in 2012 by going WAY over the cap if they continue to do nothing. Verbatim: "This helps ensure teams that were way under the cap in recent years like the Bengals and Bucs spend more." The rant above still applies. <=this entire paragraph likely wrong, will clarify later
Update: the Bengals have "$49 million of cap room" according to John Clayton. Also, not only did JJoe walk away, according to Lance the Bengals have waived Morgan Trent and put Pacman on the PUP list. So now our secondary is Leon Hall, Cris Crocker and Mike Zimmer's icy stare.
In related news, Ray Edwards, a serviceable free agent replacement for Odom, will also not be a Bengal. He will go Atlanta instead.
\Well, I suppose they might be making a run at Asomugha
\That'd be kind of cool
\Nope. Bengals are still shit.