This time, it seems the Bengals played it the right way.
I think it’s hard to discern the facts from the speculation when examining a situation like that of T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s frantic weekend. Many things were reported, and all three teams in the steeple chase for Housh at one time seemed like favorites, but in the end the Seahawks outbid the deserving contract the Bengals (reportedly) offered him. So be it.
With T.J. out of the picture, the Bengals have turned their attention to the another veteran, 32-year-old Laveranues Coles, in hopes of scoring another possession receiver with similar abilities as Housh. While this makes sense on paper, there are legitimate fears that Coles’ best years may be behind him, and that the $6 million-per-year he may command, won’t be worth the risk. Also, by making wide receiver such an off-season priority, management is sending the message that Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell or second-round pick Jerome Simpson, will not be a serviceable number-two option within the next two years.
In a sense, there is no replacing Housh. No free-agent will posses the same cerebral command that aided the Bengal offense through such uncertainty; no one to provide the youngsters that expert analysis that comes so naturally to T.J. A proven veteran like Coles will help stabilize an emotionally explosive wide receiving corps. His sure hands and precise route-running would assist Carson more than the young question-marks he currently has to work with. Still, is an aged receiver who isn’t Housh worth $6 million a year? I’d rather pass.
Chad Johnson is still on the team. There are other younger, less expensive receivers floating about on the market, like Devery Henderson and Reggie Williams that can help the situation. There is no need to become desperate in free agency; desperation should be felt during the draft.
Perhaps it’s time we emphasized the receivers a little less in the offense anyway. Bratkowski told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer that they’re revamping the offense to look more like the offense of six years ago. An overhaul is comically past due – to the point where one wondered if it change would over come to pass. So now is the time to stock up on reliable lineman, a healthy quarterback and loads of tight ends and fullbacks (inviting Green Bay fullback John Kuhn in for a visit was a step in the right direction to build the foundation of a new offense). Once the concrete and rebar are in place, than we can decorate the offense with fancy accessories like expensive wide receivers.
Mojokong – could Cedric Benson sign as a backup in Texas, when he could start here? I smell an agent at work.
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