Bengals can't work out deal with Robertson so trade on hold

Updated: March 3, 2008, 11:03 PM ET
By Michael Smith | ESPN.com

The Jets and Bengals agreed to terms on a trade on Sunday that would send defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson to Cincinnati, but by Monday the deal was "on life support," according to a source close to the situation.

Dewayne Robertson

Robertson

The Jets were to receive the Bengals' fourth- and fifth-round picks (Nos. 114 and 151) in the upcoming draft, according to league sources. But sources say that Cincinnati and Robertson's agent, Hadley Englehard, were unable to agree on contract terms.

The deal could be revisited, but for now it is on hold. The Jets would apparently still like to move Robertson before he is due a roster bonus in June. No other deal is imminent, however.

Completion of the trade had been contingent upon Robertson agreeing to a new contract -- he had two years remaining on his rookie deal with New York -- and passing a physical.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum acknowledged that the Jets traded Robertson to Cincinnati, but it fell through.

"We were close today, but he's a member of our organization," Tannenbaum said. "Our offseason program starts March 17 and, unless something happens between now and then, we expect him to be here."

On Friday the Bengals had a deal in place to acquire Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers in exchange for third- and fifth-round picks, but that trade fell through when it did not meet league approval. The Lions then traded Rogers to the Bengals' in-state rivals, the Browns, for a third rounder and cornerback Leigh Bodden.

In Robertson, 26, the Bengals were hoping to improve a defense that has ranked higher than 27th in yards allowed once in the past five seasons. They thought that Robertson would be a player who isn't as big or as dominant as Rogers has been in his first five season, but he is just as hungry for a fresh start. Robertson, 6-foot-1 and 310 pounds, would be a better fit as a penetrating "3-technique" tackle in Cincinnati's 4-3 scheme than he had been in the Jets' 3-4 the past two years.

In an interesting twist, the Bengals would have had on their roster two of the first four picks in the 2003 draft. In fact, Cincinnati selected quarterback Carson Palmer first overall that year from among a group of four finalists that also included Robertson, whom Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (along with many other personnel evaluators) is said to have loved coming out of the University of Kentucky.

Michael Smith is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Michael Smith

NFL Senior Writer
Michael Smith joined ESPN in July 2004 as a National Football League senior writer for ESPN.com, covering league news and major events such as the NFL Draft, NFL Playoffs and the Super Bowl, and continues to write breaking news stories. He is also a correspondent for E:60, ESPN's first multi-themed prime-time newsmagazine program, which debuted October 2007.