Re-signing right tackle Andre Smith has been said to be a top priority for the Cincinnati Bengals, but the two sides aren't close to making that a reality, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Smith, 26, was the sixth overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, but played in a reserve role for his first two seasons. He took over as the team's right tackle in 2011 and emerged as a top player at the position in 2012, even earning a first-team All-Pro nod from Pro Football Focus.
The Bengals rolled the dice and elected not to use the franchise tag on Smith, instead giving the designation to Michael Johnson and allowing the offensive lineman to reach the open market. However, Smith hasn't left yet and is still looking to work out a deal with the team that drafted him.
In free agency, the Indianapolis Colts gave Gosder Cherilus a five-year, $34.5-million deal, the Minnesota Vikings re-signed Phil Loadholt to a four-year, $25-million deal and the New England Patriots gave Sebastian Vollmer a four-year deal worth as much as $27-million with incentives. Where Smith fits in among those tackles will likely provide a framework for his eventual deal.
Earlier in the offseason, Smith was reportedly looking for an average of $9 million per year, which would be much higher than any of the free agent right tackles and even more than the deal Jake Long received from the St. Louis Rams.