Smith becomes a free agent after just four years because of a stipulation in his rookie deal that required the Bengals to pay a $4.75 million option bonus in 2011 to pick up the final two years. He combined for just five starts in his first two years due to injuries, which made the Bengals reluctant to pick up the option. Now, the 2009 No. 6 overall pick has developed into one of the top right tackles in the game.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy talked to agents and contract advisers at the NFL Scouting Combine and feels Smith will command a deal in the $8.5 to $9.5 million per year range. At just 26 years old, Smith will get it.
The Bengals used the franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson and have the most cap room in the league ($55.5 million). The team has invested in the offensive line with Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center Kyle Cook locked down. Smith would provide stability amongst the group for years to come.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.