Updated: August 30, 2009, 11:03 AM EDT 5 comments
The Andre Smith saga in Cincinnati is about to end.
The Bengals' 2009 first-round draft pick is in Cincinnati and is set to sign Sunday, a source told FOXSports.com. The Bengals are hoping to finalize the deal in a morning meeting with agent Alvin Keels, another source said.
Smith, who is projected to start at right tackle, has missed Cincinnati's first three preseason games. The Bengals selected Smith, an early-entry junior from Alabama, with the draft's sixth overall pick.
Should Smith sign as expected, San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree will be the only unsigned rookie.
The Bengals need a big contribution from Smith as their offensive line allowed 51 sacks last season. For quarterback Carson Palmer to play the entire season — something he didn't do in 2008 — that number has to come down.
The 6-foot-4, 332-pound rookie has the pedigree to be a dominant player in the league. He was an All-America left tackle for the Crimson Tide last season and a big reason why they went to the Sugar Bowl.