Was Signing Antonio Bryant a Good Deal for the Bengals?

Matt DavidCorrespondent IIMarch 10, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 27:  Antonio Bryant #89 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers takes off during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 27, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Point: Yes, Antonio Bryant adds the big play potential the Bengals have lacked.
Counterpoint: No, Bryant will be no more productive than Laveranues Coles.
P: I don't see it that way. He is a better deep threat than Coles. He is obviously taller than Coles.
CP: Bryant has an injured knee. He does not command heavy coverage from the defense.
P: Be fair. Last year he was injured, and the quarterback throwing to him was Josh Freeman, who tends to throw to the wrong team.
CP: Freeman had a tough year.
P: Yes, rookie quarterbacks do that.
CP: I recall Bengal fans were saying Coles was going to solve their wide receiver problems last year.
P: I don't think anyone confused Coles with a big play threat.
CP: Why didn't they just make a deal for Brandon Marshall? He would cost the same.
P: Are you crazy? Marshall would probably get six years and $55 million. That is quite a bit more than the four years and $28 million Bryant received. They also would have to give up their first round pick.
CP: He will be one and done just like Coles. Bryant won't see $28 million.
P: He may. Bryant is in his prime.
CP: Anquan Boldin got a four year, $28 million deal from the Ravens. Why didn't the Bengals just get him? Boldin is certainly better than Bryant.
P: I don't know about that. I think you'll find that they have similar numbers. Boldin has had the luxury of a great quarterback.
CP: True, Kurt Warner is better than Freeman.
P: Boldin also played with Larry Fitzgerald. I think it is safe to say it is easier to be productive with talent like that around you. Also, the Ravens had to give up draft picks. The Bengals don't like to do that.
CP: We are talking about a guy who has been no better than average for five of his seven years in the league.
P: It is hard to excel on bad teams. That doesn't help.
CP: He will be average at best. He did not catch more than five catches in any game last year.
P: Yes, but remember that his quarterback was not Carson Palmer.
CP: Palmer is better than Freeman. I'll give you that.
P: He also averaged over 15 yards per catch.
CP: He only caught 39 balls all year.
P: He was injured. He missed three games.
CP: That seems like a lot of money for 39 catches and 600 yards.
P: I think the Bengals are paying for what he did in 2008. Did you check that season out?
CP: I realize he had a big year.
P: Yes, he did. He had 83 receptions for 1,248 yards.
CP: I favored Terrell Owens. It looks like they won't be signing him now.
P: Bryant is younger and better than Owens anyway.
CP: Yeah, Owens is very unlikely now. The Bengals now have Chad Ochocinco, Matt Jones, Andre Caldwell, Quan Cosby, and Jerome Simpson. They don't need to stock pile receivers unless they plan on cutting people.
P: Agreed on that. Owens has his injuries also.
CP: Bryant carries a lot of baggage with him. He missed the entire 2007 season due to drugs. He was suspended another time for four games with a DUI.
P: Owens, Boldin, and Marshall all have baggage.
CP: Bryant is now with his fifth team. That doesn't concern you?
P: Guys like Bryant are nothing new to the Bengals.
CP: There is a reason he has jumped around the league.
P: This frees the Bengals up to draft a defensive play maker. Defense in round one is the wise choice. If the Bengals picked up a pass rusher or a cover safety, their defense would be very good again. 
CP: I don't know about that. The team still lacks a young play maker at wide receiver.
P: They do, but without signing Bryant, the Bengals likely would draft a wide receiver in the first round. Now, they have the option of looking elsewhere.
CP: They will probably draft a tight end.
P: I don't see that. Wide receiver was a possibility, and it is a tough position to draft and develop. Signing a veteran receiver like Bryant is the safer bet. I think they will address the defense in the draft.
CP: It is possible they stay where they are at wide receiver. They prefer to give Simpson a bigger role.
P: They would like to get something out of that high pick.
CP: So, in summary, you like this deal?
P: Yes, Bryant can go deep. Marvin Lewis will get the most out of him. He will be grateful for this opportunity. Also, this move will allow Caldwell to develop in the slot. With Bryant’s speed and size on the outside, the Bengals just might have a passing game that resembles the 2005 Bengals.
CP: I think you are dreaming.
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