Finding a quarterback remains the most challenging and valuable task to accomplish, but the other two can vary depending on who you talk to.On Sunday, the Bengals had two these aspects working for them against Authentic Vontaze Burfict Jersey  the Steelers, but the absence of one hurt them more than I previously thought.The Bengals failed to sack quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on his 46 dropbacks. I was able to determine that number of dropbacks because Roethlisberger threw the ball 46 times and never scrambled. The thing was, he was pressured for a good portion of the game, yet the ball always found a way out of Big Bens hands. What cant be ignored was how porous the rotation of the defensive line throughout the game was. Andrew Billings, Josh Tupou and Michael Johnson all had more snaps than Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard. How little Lawson played before the games final drive was actually downright embarrassing:The Bengals pass rushing unit is lead of course by Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, both of whom werent on the field any less than they usually are. Regardless, none of their pressures resulted in anything meaningful? Why was that?The answer lies beyond the pass rush, and the relationship between the back seven and the work of the front four was in a bad place against the Steelers offense. These five first-down conversions for the Steelers offense really encapsulates this thesis. (Unfortunately due to time constraints I was unable to provide audio with the videos this week, but next week the audio will return).Late in the first quarter, the Steelers are on their way to scoring their first touchdown of the game. They roll out a 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends) formation which allows the Bengals to remain in their base defense. But they end up using all three tight ends as options on the play.Atkins, whos aligned over the left guards outside shoulder, performs his usual bull rush and starts creating solid penetration towards Roethlisberger. After a slight pump fake towards his tight end running a drag route, Roethlisberger progresses towards his tight end Xavier Grimble running a hook route between linebackers Vincent Rey and Vontaze Burfict. The pump fake gets Rey to bite just a bit, and theres a window for Roethlisberger.Atkins is now just a foot away from Roethlisberger at this point and if Burfict can collapse on the hook route faster, Roethlisberger may have held onto the ball a bit longer for Atkins to finish the rush. Instead, Burfict stops his feet, Roethlisberger leads the ball towards Grimbles left, converts a first down, and Atkins is just left with a quarterback hit instead of a sack. Just a few plays later, the Steelers are back to almost the same exact spot after a holding penalty and a tackle for loss made by cornerback Darqueze Dennard. However, its Dennard who gets picked on for this big play, and the Bengals pass rush is once again negated.Roethlisberger sends slot receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in motion to confirm that the Bengals are indeed in man coverage, which is perfect for what the Steelers end up running. Smith-Schuster starts his route by planting his outside foot hard to pivot inside and sells the vertical stem against Dennard. At this point, Dennard is in his hip pocket, but because the Bengals are in man coverage, and field side safety Shawn Williams collapses towards the running back running the flat, Smith-Schuster has room to work with running the deep over. Dennard tries catch up by using the trail technique but Smith-Schuster has the step he needs.While all this is happening, the Bengals are running a stunt with Atkins and Hubbard, and Lawson is working against left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Atkins is able to get a lane on Roethlisberger, but with the separation Smith-Schuster created, Roethlisberger is able to get the ball out just in time.When Atkins wasnt in the game, it was extremely noticeable http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline. … son-jersey , as seen by this next play. Even with the outside pressure provided by Dunlap, the duo of Billings and Tupou fail to generate any kind of push to take advantage of Dunlap altering Roethlisbergers positioning in the pocket. The pocket is still maintained in front of him and he can step into a throw to his tight end Vance McDonald.And McDonald is so open running towards the flat because instead of picking up his route, Burfict just modestly chips McDonald and hes left wide open for some serious yards after the catch. Even without their best player, the interior pass rush failed to capitalize on Roethlisberger holding onto the ball longer to allow his receiver to break open because of another lapse in judgement from Burfict.Finally, lets look at a couple plays from the game-winning drive for the Steelers. The Bengals defense kept their nickel defense on the field to best defend the Steelers efforts to air out the ball with just over a minute remaining, and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin offered a unique front to get pressure on Roethlisberger.Using three down-lineman and Hubbard in a two-point stance, the Bengals rush four, but have Lawson attack the left guard head on. Lawsons speed-to-power is quite impressive and like Atkins before him, he gets decent push on the pocket. But the theme of the game remained the same.Roethlisberger targeted backup slot cornerback Tony McRae who maintained outside leverage on the slant route to keep things funneling back towards the middle of the field. Unfortunately for McRae, he has no help inside as Burfict is taken upfield by the tight ends deep dig route. Easy separation is allowed, Lawsons rep is mitigated, and the Steelers move the ball.Six plays later, another crucial mistake is made in the Bengals secondary, and this time, the pass rush never stood a chance.The Bengals appear to be playing Cover 2, with two high safeties and zone underneath them. Like they have been doing all game, the Steelers create space for the primary target, while the backups in the Bengals secondary playing for injured starters continued to play a bit too slow.Smith-Schuster is basically running a skinny post from the slot, right into the soft spot of that coverage. Conventional wisdom says the MIKE linebacker in a Cover 2 zone has to maintain proper depth so the window for a throw in this area isnt too wide. But the MIKE, which is Burfict, is occupied for the slightest of seconds by the running back releasing out of the backfield. Because of this, Smith-Schuster only has to worry about the safety over top of him crashing down on him, but that doesnt happen in time.Clayton Fejedelem backpedals way to far in fear of the double comeback route combination getting past him, and the space he vacates allows Smith-Schuster to catch the ball completely uncontested. This time, the pass rush is completely handled by the offensive line, with no hope for the secondary that theyre going to rush a throw from Roethlisberger. Is a defenses pass coverage more valuable than its pass rush? This game certainly lead me to believe it so. Roethlisberger held onto the ball on average a decent period of time, but most of the time, he got the ball out quick enough to completely mitigate whatever the Bengals pass rush was doing. Had coverage held up better on just a few occasions, the Bengals wouldve gotten opportune moments to take Roethlisberger down rather than just kind of hurry him, and that seemed like the crux of the Bengals issues on defense.And I dont think this was the primary reason why the Bengals lost. But enough people claimed that the pass rush was the culprit to their demise and I wanted to confirm their suspicions. As it turns out, Roethlisberger just did what he always does in Paul Brown Stadium: he carved up their back seven, specifically their linebackers.The injuries the Bengals suffered in the secondary only escalated these problems, and it was the fire that lit the molotov cocktail. The bad news is, things wont get much better next week when they take on Patrick Mahomes Chiefs, who will no doubt attempt to do the same things as Roethlisberger did. The worse part: hes even more capable of doing so.Every pass rush depends on the players behind them to give them the milliseconds they need to translate their work into production. The two units just didnt help each other out enough, and the entire defense suffered at the worst times because of it.Everything to know about salaries in the NFL The Bengals start playing meaningful football on Sunday when they take on the Colts. But before that Womens Joe Mixon Jersey , the Bengals had to form their 53-man roster, which was no easy task. Some of the monetary guidelines and practices can be confusing to the average fan. If the Bengals made roster moves based on talent alone, that would be easy enough to figure out. But Mike Brown is running a business, so dollars and cents are an important part of the equation. There might be some cuts or additions made that had more to do with contracts than skills. George Ilokas release from the team was allegedly a financial decision, for example.So, how do salaries in the NFL work?First, lets start with the salary cap itself.The Salary CapFor those who dont know, the salary cap, simply put, is the amount of money that teams are allowed to spend on players salaries. The reason for this is simple: each team has the exact same amount of money to spend, so every team is on a level playing field in free agency. For contrast, baseball has no salary cap. Teams like the Yankees can spend all they want on players salaries while teams like the Reds, who operate in a small market, must be more judicious with their money.The exact salary cap is dictated by the Players Association in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the current CBA, all sources of revenue, including television contracts, merchandise sales and ticket sales, are added up and divided among all 32 teams.When the salary cap was first introduced in 1994, the cap was set to $34 million. The salary cap for the current NFL season is $177.2 million.Spending requirementsThere is a minimum amount of money that a team can put towards their caps. All 32 teams are required to spend at least 89 percent of their caps (which this year is $157.7 M). This is called the minimum cash spend requirement, also known as the 89 percent rule.Teams dont have to spend their 89 percent every year, however. This requirement must be the average amount spent over the four year spending period. The current spending period started in 2017 and will continue through 2020. In other words, the Bengals could have to spend 88 percent of their cap last year and this year, but would have to spend at least 90 percent over the next two years. The second requirement is that the league as a whole must spend 95 percent of its total cap space. So the average percent of cap spending must come out to 95 percent every year, or the remaining money will be given to the players. This rule also applies over the course of the spending period. So, those are the limitations placed on the NFL owners and general managers when they work out their players contracts. How do the contracts actually work? ContractsPlayers contracts can be just as complicated since there are several ways they can earn money. First and foremost, they earn a salary.SalaryA players base salary is what he earns every week just for being on the roster. Its paid out in 17 installments after each game. So, if a player has a base salary of $1M, then his paycheck every week is worth $58,823.53.A split salary is given to a player who is on IR to reduce his financial burden. This is most common among young players who were late-round draft picks.If a team releases a player, they stop paying the players salary but still owe him dead money (more on that below). So this is where GMs save money by making cuts.BonusesThere are several different types of bonuses a player can earn.A signing bonus is what is known as guaranteed money. This is cash a player earns just for signing a contract. Signing bonuses are typically spread throughout the life of the contract, but if a player is released, the team must pay him the rest of the bonus he is due.For instance, if John Doe received a signing bonus of $1M for a four-year deal, each year he is paid $250,000. If John Doe is released after the first year, he is due the remaining $750 http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline. … lem-jersey ,000. The amount of money owed is known as dead money. For clarification, the signing bonus is the total amount the bonus is worth. A prorated bonus refers to the amount of that bonus a player is paid each season (so in the above example, the $250,000 each year is the prorated bonus).Then there are roster bonuses, which is what a player may earn for being on an active roster at the beginning of the league year. Reporting bonuses are similar; these are bonuses for reporting on time for workouts or training camp. These bonuses are paid out in a year-by-year basis, according to the terms set forth in the contract.IncentivesThere are two different types of incentives, which are rewards for attaining certain goals. The first kind are likely to be earned (LTBE) incentives. LTBE incentives count against the salary cap at the beginning of the season, but if the player doesnt earn the incentive, the team keeps the money and the corresponding cap space is carried over to the next season.A bonus not likely to be earned (NLTBE) does not count against the salary cap, but is awarded to the player all the same.A good example between the differences between the two types of incentives are in Tyler Eiferts contract. Eiferts cap hit, or amount of cap space his contract takes up this year, is $4,625,000. His salary is worth $1 million, while the rest is guaranteed in signing, roster, and workout bonuses. However, Eiferts injury history made the Bengals worried when he went to re-sign. Instead of earning a $62,500 salary every week (which would normally be how a contract like his will work out), he is eligible to earn a LBTE incentive worth $62,500 for every game for which he is active.So, he may earn his full million; he may only earn a fraction of it. Either way, there is $1M worth of cap space allotted for his incentives. He will also earn NLTBE bonuses if he has 50 to 65 catches, 650 yards, and/or 8 touchdowns. If he earns all of his bonuses, his contract will actually be worth a maximum of $8.5M. But since he has only caught more than 50 passes once, 8 touchdowns once, and never recorded more than 650 yards in his five year career, these incentives are considered NLTBE.So, lets look at some contracts. Well start with Eiferts (via Spotrac.com).Tyler Eiferts ContractYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster BonusWorkout BonusCap hitDead capYearly cashYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster BonusWorkout BonusCap hitDead capYearly cashSince this is only a one year deal, its pretty straightforward. The cap hit is the sum of his projected salary and the bonuses he will earn, which is where the $4.625 million figure comes from. In this case, yearly cash and cap hit are the same because it is only a one-year deal.Next, lets check out the contract of the Bengals first-round pick in the 2018 draft, Billy Price (via Spotrac.com).Price signed a four year deal worth a total of $11,712 http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline. … son-jersey ,491. His contract has a fifth year option, which we will ignore for simplicitys sake. If the Bengals were to pick up the option, the signing bonus and dead cap would be disbursed differently.Billy Prices ContractYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster BonusWorkout BonusCap hitDead capYearly cashYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster BonusWorkout BonusCap hitDead capYearly cashPrice will not earn a roster or workout bonus, but his signing bonus is worth $6,598,175. So the $1,649,543 yearly payment is the signing bonus spread out over four years. However, the entire signing bonus is paid up front, so the yearly paid portion in his first year is his first years salary plus the signing bonus. After that, his yearly cash only includes his salary. Even though his whole bonus is paid in the first year, it is still spread out on paper to save cap space. If the Bengals cut him after one year, then the dead cap amount of $7,505,790 is the amount of cap space lost due to the distribution of his signing bonus. (Obviously, the Bengals will not be cutting him any time soon.)The last contract well look at will be Dre Kirkpatricks (via Spotrac.com). Kirkpatrick signed a five-year extension in 2017 with a signing bonus of $7 million, which brings the total value of the contract to $52 million.Dre Kirkpatricks ContractYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster bonusWorkout bonusCap hitDead capYearly cashYearBase salarySigning bonusRoster bonusWorkout bonusCap hitDead capYearly cashKirkpatricks dead cap in 2017 was the sum of that years salary and bonuses along with the total signing bonus. However, since the Bengals only spent $1.4M on his signing bonus, his yearly cash value is much lower. This year, Kirkpatricks cap hit is almost the same as his dead cap, so the Bengals wouldnt save much money by releasing him. After this season though, the Bengals could save millions in cap space by letting Kirkpatrick go, if they so choose. His salary will exceed $9 million each season after 2018 while his dead cap will fall from $4.2 million. If the Bengals release him any time after this season, they could save anywhere from $10 million to about $23 million.It is also important to note that Kirkpatrick has per game active bonuses in all five years of his contract. In the first two years, they are LTBE so they count toward his salary. In the final three years, they are listed as NLTBE, so he could earn some extra money not listed on the table above. If Kirkpatrick plays out the entirety of his contract and earns all of his bonuses (which is quite possible), he will earn the maximum value of $52 million.This whole realm is so much more complicated than that (the formula to calculate the salary cap alone takes up 10 pages of the CBA), but this is the basic concept. But dont worry, when the NFLPA negotiates a new CBA in 2021, everything could change so you will be thoroughly confused again. For now, this is how football players are paid in 2018 and likely will continue to be paid through the 2020 NFL season.