"Around the League" is taking a look at each team's salary-cap situation heading into training camp. Next up: The Cincinnati Bengals.
Adjusted Cap Number: $131.198 million
Cap Room Remaining: $16.309 million
Best bargain:Andy Dalton is easily the biggest bargain on the Bengals. The No. 35 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has a base salary of $612,009 and a cap number of $1,185,045 this season, which is less than the cost of the lowest restricted free agent tender.
Potential camp casualty: How many current and former first-round cornerbacks can one team have at the same time? With 2007 first-round pick Leon Hall coming off a torn Achilles, the Bengals beefed up their cornerback position in free agency with former first-round cornerbacks Terence Newman (2003) and Jason Allen (2006). Then Cincinnati used the first of its two first-round picks, the one obtained from the Oakland Raiders in the Carson Palmer trade, on Dre Kirkpatrick.
With 2001 first-round pick Nate Clements coming off a fairly strong season, 2005 first-round pick Adam Jones could have a hard time staying on the Bengals. Jones was re-signed to a one-year deal in March, but only his $75,000 signing bonus is guaranteed.
Contract issue looming in 2013: The Cincinnati Bengals used the franchise tag on kicker Mike Nugent this offseason, a rather luxurious use of the tender that they will not be afforded in 2013 when all three starters in a very thin linebacker corps are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. The versatile Michael Johnson, who has played both defensive end and linebacker in his four seasons with the Bengals, and had six sacks and five passes defensed, is also headed toward unrestricted free agency next offseason.
Another 2013 unrestricted free agent is right tackle Andre Smith, who was a disappointment during his first two seasons in the NFL. The Bengals declined to pick up a second option bonus in his contract, a decision that voided the final two years (2013-14) of the deal. In 2011, the light bulb (above his head, not in his refrigerator) came on for Smith, who had a pretty good season opposite Andrew Whitworth.