PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Cincinnati Bengals rookie Andre Smith, the sixth overall pick in the draft, said Tuesday that he hopes to be signed and in training camp on time because a holdout could hamper his transition from left tackle to right tackle.
However, Smith's wish to get a deal done could be more complicated because he was drafted one pick after New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who signed a five-year contract that could be worth up to $60 million and has $28 million guaranteed.
Quarterbacks tend to receive the heftiest salaries, so Sanchez's deal could skew the terms for players selected immediately after him, which is an argument the Bengals probably will make with Smith. The Bengals also could say that Smith is playing right tackle, not the highly coveted left tackle spot.
Smith's representation, in turn, will argue that the position of the player drafted ahead of Smith shouldn't matter and that the contract should be based somewhat off the terms of Sanchez's deal and the contract signed by the player drafted sixth overall in 2008 (Vernon Gholston: five years, $40 million overall, with $20 million guaranteed).
Negotiations could get sticky, but the fact that Smith has acknowledged that he needs to be in camp on time and wants to continue the momentum he started in offseason workouts is a good sign that he is focused on being a better player. Smith said he plans on working out in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he played collegiately at the University of Alabama, in preparation for training camp.