Bengal Quick Takes: Andy, A.J. and more

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
8:30
AM ET
The week keeps humming right along. Good Tuesday morning to you. While the Cincinnati Bengals won't be talking again to reporters until next Monday, you still ought to see a little news from them here and elsewhere for the rest of the week. So be on the lookout and keep checking back.

Let's get to this edition of the Bengal Quick Takes, shall we?

1. Andy wants to be paid. As I'm sure you read here, there and virtually everywhere Monday, the Bengals quarterback turned into a more relaxed, more confident and even more comedic version of himself when he spoke for the first time to reporters about his contract talks. They are occurring, he acknowledged, adding that his camp is doing everything it can to get him the best deal. While Dalton didn't talk numbers -- he wouldn't anyway -- he does believe quarterbacks ought to get large contracts because they are the "face of [their] franchise." Multiple starters are being given upwards of $20 million annually on second and third contracts. Asked if he felt he was the face of this franchise, Dalton didn't flinch when he said, "I do." Finally, he's starting to claim full control of his team; just like any truly competitive quarterback would do. He didn't seem to fully grasp that style of leadership and ownership previously. We'll see if he's thinking this same way by January. If so, maybe a more confident-than-ever Dalton goes into the playoffs. He is perfectly within his rights of wanting a competitive contract offer this offseason, but does he deserve one? Does he deserve $20 million a year? At least $18 million? Therein lies the rub. Some salary-cap experts believe $15 million a year could be the base of where his contract talks begin. People like me believe that ought to be the 10-foot, vaulted ceiling.

2. What A.J. Green's option means. It wasn't the most shocking news, but it was news that had to come at some point before May 3, nonetheless. According to the NFL Players Association records and a Bengals official, the team picked up Green's fifth-year option Monday. It means Green will be here another two seasons as the team tries to work out a longer-term deal that might keep him in Cincinnati well into the future. Like Dalton, Green's rookie contract expires next offseason. As a top-10 pick, though, the former No. 4 overall selection has provisions in his contract that permit being extended a fifth-year deal. He also will be slated to make in 2015 the equivalent of the 2014 transition tag compensation for receivers. That figure is around $10.1 million. Since that money will count toward the 2015 cap, the Bengals and their more than $24 million remaining on this year's cap can focus more on Dalton's extension, as well as linebacker Vontaze Burfict's. With the draft on the horizon, though, it's still hard to really see them offer Dalton a 2014 salary that competes with the aforementioned projections. They still would probably have enough to adequately pay Burfict, but then the question becomes, where does the money for the draft picks come from? Even though Green is taken care of for 2014, there's still some number crunching that has to be done.

3. Gio's mission. If you have the time, be sure to sit down and check out this lengthy, but very, very good piece from NFL.com on running back Giovani Bernard. NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala traveled to Haiti with Bernard earlier this offseason to tell a story about the back that few knew. Aditi's tweet promoting the story said it all: "He lost his mother, then his home. But [Bernard] kept working. Now he's building a legacy to his mom." I don't want to give all the details away, so just check it out for yourself. Well worth the time.

4. Huber's comeback. You'll read a little more from me on this later Tuesday, but punter Kevin Huber spoke briefly about his return to the field following the devastating blindside hit at Pittsburgh last December that ended his season and broke his jaw. The wires and stabilizing head piece are long gone. Now it's all about focusing on kicking and building up to kicking with the same ferocity and fearlessness as before. Here's Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson offering a few of Huber's thoughts on his return.

5. 'NFL Nation TV' is back. We're going to start calling these Personal Plug Tuesdays. Seriously, though, be sure to drop everything and come to ESPN.com at 2 p.m. ET where yours truly will be helping host the second episode of our new "NFL Nation TV" show. The show is interactive, meaning you can chat with other NFL fans and ask our panel questions that will be read live. This week, Raiders reporter and lead host Paul Gutierrez and myself are chatting with Browns reporter Pat McManamon.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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