No franchise tag for Joseph

In their latest attempt to prove they are the most inept franchise in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals have decided to not use the franchise tag on free-agent-to-be cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

While good franchises around the league – such as the Eagles, Jets and Patriots – have decided to tag their key free agents, the Bengals are content to sit idly by and allow one of the best corners in the league to become an unrestricted free agent.

This is yet another example of the Bengals playing checkers while the good teams around the league play chess. The Eagles franchised tagged quarterback Mike Vick, the Jets tagged linebacker David Harris and the Patriots slapped the tag on offensive lineman Logan Mankins.

Let’s see: Who knows what they are doing here? The Bengals front office? Or the people running the Eagles, Jets and Patriots? Tough call there, huh? Not at all. On one hand you have an organization that has had two winning seasons in 20 years. On the other side of the ledger, you have perennial playoff teams, including a recent three-time Super Bowl winner.

Obviously it’s the Bengals that don’t understand what is going on here. Here is what Geoff Hobson of had to say in regards to whether the Bengals would tag Joseph.

“But no matter what happens, don’t look for the Bengals to use the franchise tag on either of their two key free agents, cornerback Johnathan Joseph or running back Cedric Benson. They want to sign both to long-term deals with sane salary cap hits. But not before the CBA is done because they want to make sure the deals fit whatever system they get.”

Wow. That’s even bad for the Bengals’ standards. They “want to make sure the deals fit whatever system they get”? Really? It’s pretty simple: No matter what the new collective bargaining agreement looks like, Joseph is going to get paid a large sum of money. It would be wise to lock him up for one more year so there is no chance he will become an unrestricted free agent. What would be the risk in tagging Joseph right now? Zero. If a new CBA can’t be reached and the 2011 season is cancelled, the Bengals won’t owe him any money. The money associated with the franchise tag only becomes guaranteed if there is actually a season.

Some say that Joseph shouldn’t be tagged because of injury concerns. I call BS on that. In his five seasons, he’s had two injury-marred years. I get that. However, when healthy, he’s proven he’s an elite corner and those are hard to find in the NFL. Also, cornerbacks play a lot of years – usually 10 or more if they’re of the good variety. And Joseph is. Think about all the corners over the years that have played well into their 30’s (or even 40’s in the case of Darrell Green). Charles Woodson is another great example. He just completed his 13th year in the league – and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009, his 12th season in pro ball. We’re not talking about running backs here who have short shelf lives.

If the Bengals allow Joseph to leave, they will end up regretting it. It took them several years to find a good corner tandem and they finally have it with Joseph and Leon Hall. And now they are in the process of screwing it up. Sounds about right. Pretty much what we’ve become accustomed to from Mike Brown and his incompetent minions.

Again, if the Eagles, Jets and Patriots think it’s a good idea to use the franchise tag on their important free agents even without a new CBA in place, then there is no reason the Bengals can’t do the same. The above excerpt from Hobson proves once again the people running the Bengals just don’t “get it” and that’s why they will always be fighting a losing battle against the good franchises in the league like the Eagles, Jets and Patriots.

Man it must be fun to be a fan of a team that actually knows what they are doing.