On Friday, the Bengals announced that they had agreed to terms with quarterback Josh Johnson. Today, NFL Network Analyst Ian Rappaport tweeted that the Bengals have agreed to a one-year deal with wide receiver Brandon Tate. Johnson visited the Bengals last week and after Bruce Gradkowski signed with the Steelers and Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Titans, Johnson is now a Bengal.
The #Bengals have reached an agreement with WR/returner Brandon Tate on a one-year deal, I'm told.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 23, 2013
Unlike all of the other free-agent signings by the Bengals this year, Johnson is the only free agent who wasn't a Bengal last year. Head coach Marvin Lewis has stated that he wants to improve every position prior to the Draft so that they can take the best players available come April. "[It's] not a positive in making your team better when you keep adding old guys," Lewis said. "What did Randy Moss do for (the 49ers) last year? He did nothing. He got in the way of a younger player performing."
Tate's signing came just days after the Bengals couldn't agree to a deal with now Panther's wide out Ted Ginn, Jr. Tate was the second receiver in the Bengals offense last year and also contributed largely to the return game.
What Will Happen with Smith and Newman?
Defensively, the Bengals retained key free agents at each position group. Defensive linemen Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry have re-signed. Defensive back Adam Jones and linebacker Rey Maualuga also agreed to terms. Offensively, wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Brandon Tate, offensive tackle Dennis Roland and quarterback Josh Johnson signed from free agency.
Kicker Mike Nugent, punter Kevin Huber, long snapper Clark Harris and personal protector Cedric Peerman also signed from free agency.
Every position group for the Bengals has now benefited from free agency in one way or another. The Bengals had the benefit of being able to find most of those players from their own roster. Two large questions still remain, however: Andre Smith and Terence Newman.