T.J. Houshmandzadeh's Departure Opens Door for Michael Crabtree to Join Bengals

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIMarch 4, 2009

Perhaps losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh was not the worst thing that could happen to the Cincinnati Bengals.

For those who have continued to ask the question, "How will they replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh?", the answer might lie within the aftermath of his signing with Seattle.

Before the Seahawks signed Houshmandzadeh, most mock drafts predicted that Seattle would select Michael Crabtree with the fourth overall selection in the draft. That, of course, before Crabtree injured his ankle and was prevented from working out at the 2009 NFL Combine.

Crabtree's injury alone might have been enough to make his draft stock slip a bit, but now one has to look at the possible aftermath of the Seahawks signing T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Now, the Seahawks are not in as dire need to draft a high-caliber receiver. They might actually use the fourth-overall selection to attend to other needy areas of their roster.

The Bengals, meanwhile, are very much in need of a replacement for T.J. Houshmandzadeh. It would only be logical to assume that they might use the sixth-overall pick in the draft to take the wide receiver Seattle was originally after—Michael Crabtree.

In a way, the Bengals could potentially benefit from releasing T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

By letting go of a player who was about to enter the ninth year of his career, they might be able to pick up a high-quality young rookie who has the potential to flourish playing with Carson Palmer for years to come.

Bengals fans were outraged that their team did not place a franchise tag on Houshmandzadeh. If they draft Michael Crabtree and he is able to produce like many scouts expect him to, Houshmandzadeh will become a nice afterthought as the Bengals give birth to a superstar.

I do expect Crabtree to be available by the time the Bengals are on the draft board and I feel that he would be the best possible selection for the team. Although they do have other needs on the defensive side of the ball, I would not pass on a player who has this much potential.

If it does work out like I predict it can, it will be the Bengals who got the better of the T.J. Houshmandzadeh deal.

The Bengals (like the Seahawks) are a team that needs to be rebuilt. I find it best for them to do so by drafting young quality talent who can help them for years to come.

The Seahawks will be getting a quality ageing player, the Bengals might end up would a quality receiver of the future.

Who do you feel will have made out the best when it's all said and done?