Many Husker fans were surprised and disappointed to see Maurice Purify go undrafted. But his free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals could be a great opportunity. In fact, it could turn out much better than if he’d actually been drafted to a number of other teams.
Three and Out
The Bengals' top-three receivers in 2007 all could be gone in a year. Chris Henry, the third-leading receiver was already (and finally) kicked off the team for his off-the-field issues. The top receiver by yardage, Chad Johnson, is clearly unhappy and could easily be traded, as he nearly was to the Washington Redskins. Pro-Bowler T.J. Houshmandzadeh lead the team in receptions and receiving touchdowns, but will likely want more money than the Bengals will want to pay him after the 2008 season. That could easily leave the top-three receiving jobs wide open after Purify’s had a year to develop.
The Bengals did draft three wide receivers in anticipation of these needs, but they’ll all arrive the same time as Mo’. Only one of those players was more productive in 2007, and that was Jerome Simpson from Coastal Carolina. This is despite the fact that Purify only started four games and missed one game entirely. Mo’ finished the year strong, with over 400 yards and six touchdowns in his last three games.
Any fantasy football geek knows that most teams have only one wide receiver that’s going to put up big numbers. But there are exceptions. Teams with highly productive quarterbacks can have two, and sometimes even three, receivers finish with big numbers (think Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne playing with Peyton Manning).
Carson Palmer is one of those rare quarterbacks. He’s averaged over 4,000 yards over the last three seasons. That’s why both Chad Johnson and Houshmandzadeh were Pro-Bowlers. Purify could easily have found himself teamed with a lesser quarterback. Instead, he finds himself on a team with a big-time producer.
Purify still needs to make the team, but assuming he can do that, he could become a big-time player by 2009.