Cincinnati Bengals' Early Preseason Report

The Bengal ThingContributor IApril 5, 2009

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 17:  Shayne Graham #17 of the Cincinnati Bengals waits to kick the ball during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Paul Brown Stadium on August 17, 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mar. 11, '09

Well, in one way there isn’t much going on in the land of Bengals...on the other hand, there has been a flurry of activity. I am leaning more towards the flurry of activity side.

We may not have made a “big splash” in free agency by signing a big name player, but we have made an attempt to sign players that were key contributors to our team last year. Two guys in particular seem to be a hot topic for debate:

S Chris Crocker

RB Cedric Benson

Both of the players were picked up late in the season and did not have the benefit of being with the team for OTA’s, training camp, practices and preseason...Heck, even the first half of the regular season games.

Some would argue that you aren’t “ upgrading” your team by signing these players. I HIGHLY disagree. If you look at the BIG PICTURE you will see that if the Bengals needed to pick these guys up for the reasons given above, then it must have been a drastic need in a position decimated by injury or other situation.

So, to sign a guy into that type of situation and have him succeed is a pretty big accomplishment. These players were both signed to one year deals and were up for a new contract at the start of this offseason.

The Bengals chose to sign them both to multi year deals. This is pretty amazing in that we don’t need to address that need and can focus on other needs. It also turns out that we signed them to deals for a fairly cheap price and they have a half year under their belt to grow from this year.

Other Bengals from last year were also signed to multi year deals:

LB Rashad Jeanty

LB Brandon Johnson

LB Darryl Blackstock

DT Orien Harris

FB/TE Daniel Coats

RB DeDe Dorsey

And...K Shayne Graham as franchise player.

This one is a bit of a concern for me. I was against having Graham back at all to be honest. He is a fine kicker and has been a great guy to have on the team. That being said, I feel a kicker could have been acquired in a different manner and/or a deal made with Graham that didn’t include the tag.

Now, I am not privy to all the reasons why this occurred. Maybe the Bengals low balled him an offer, or maybe Graham was asking to much...At any rate the Bengals should have known this was going to be the case and made appropriate adjustments (e.g. drafting a kicker LAST year to learn under Graham, making a trade, or picking up a free agent...etc).

It was rumored that the Bengals may use the tag on Cedric Benson. If that were the case it would have cost just the Bengals an estimated $6.621 million for one year. The Bengals were able to sign him to a two-year, $7 million deal.

I am not very good at math...but even I can see the benefit in that deal. Now, we just have to hope Benson and turn it up a few notches and bang out those yards.

New Bengals to the mix include:

WR Laveranues Coles

QB J.T. O'Sullivan

Key Bengals Loses:

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

T Stacy Andrews

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Well, these last two segments I could go on for hours about. Mainly about TJ/LC. First though is Ryan Fitzparick. He was a decent backup that turned into a pretty effective starter.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think he is a starter in the NFL, but he had to play that role last year and he didn’t to terrible (keep in mind Carson even had some tough losses thrown in there).

Stacy is another interesting scenario...had all the potential in the world but didn’t really reach the full potential. Due to circumstances at his spot and the need to fill it, we were

forced to “tag” him.

He had a less the stellar year and then got injured in the last game. So, it was obvious that we weren’t going to break the bank to bring him back. Off to Philly he went.

TJ, I am going to try to keep this short. Bottom line is TJ wanted to much money. He felt he was underpaid in his last contract (whose fault is that!!!??). So he made demands “if you tag me...I won’t be at OTA’s”, “I want a five-year deal only”, “I want top-five WR money”...Etc

Now, TJ is a No. 2 receiver (he thinks only on the Bengals behind Chad) and those demands are WAY too high for his role on this team. It looks to me like the Bengals made several attempts to sign TJ since the beginning of last year up until the final minutes of him signing. I for one am glad they didn’t go all out to keep him.

My main reason for thinking this way is the Bengals drafted three WR in last years draft...And picked one up from the undrafted pool afterwards (Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell, Mario Urrutia, and Maurice Purify).

Granted they did not see much playing time, but should be adequate enough with Carson Palmer throwing them the ball. These players had the benefit of being with the team all year and practicing, film study, and all that is included.

Can they FILL the shoes of TJ, probably not? With Chad, Chris Henry, and likely Antonio Chatman (possibly Glen Holt and who knows who else) I believe that the WR corps would have been just fine.

ENTER L. Coles...

I was also against this signing. I believe that Coles will be a great addition and should have an outstanding year. However, for the reasons above...I do not think he was a need and definitely NOT a need at his price tag (four year, $28 million with almost $10 million paid in the first year).

So, that is it for now...I am not sure how this blog will work, but if you like what you read, I imagine there will be some way to contact me to ask questions or what have you.

Thanks for reading.



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