The Bengals have had a busy off-season. The draft is over and most of the free agents have been signed. As is normally the case, the Bengals picked up some guys that have had some issues in their past. Two guys on this list have had major off-field issues. With stability in their locker room, this may work out fine.
This sideshow will focus on the unrestricted free agents. These guys were all available to any team that wanted them.
The Bengals signed Mike Zimmer quickly. Letting Zimmer get away would have been a huge mistake so on January 12, 2010, they signed Zimmer to a three-year contract. No coach can do much without good players which the Bengals have. However, Zimmer gets a lot of credit for bringing an edge to the defense. The Bengals defense finished fourth overall with the league's sixth best scoring defense in 2009. They have not finished in the top ten in both scoring and overall defense since 1983. This was a big reason that the Bengals won the division and made the playoffs.
There is no reason to think that Zimmer's defense won't follow that up in 2010.
Critics warn that when Bryant gets a fat bonus, he stops playing hard. He is also allegedly a bad guy to have in the locker room.
On the other hand, Antonio Bryant adds big play potential the Bengals have lacked. In 2008, he demonstrated this when he had 83 receptions for 1,248 yards. Last year, he was limited by injuries and a rookie quarterback. With Bryant’s speed and size on the outside, the Bengals just might have a passing game that resembles the 2005 Bengals. Signing Bryant allows Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley to develop in the slot.
This article wonders weather Antonio Bryant was a good signing for the Bengals.
Signing Bobbie Williams was a priority. He is a popular leader in the locker room who brings stability to the line. He is also still playing at a high level. The Bengals should be thinking about drafting his eventual replacement in 2011. For now, not resigning their starting guard would have created a big hole in the roster.
It wasn't all that long ago when the Bengals first signed Tank Johnson. Back then, they were getting beat up on talk radio and all over the internet. The media had a field day calling Johnson a thug even though he has avoided trouble since his days in Chicago.
Thankfully, those days are over. Getting depth on the defensive line was a priority for the Bengals so this was a good move. Johnson knows the system and increases the stability on the line. He was slowed in 2009 by a foot injury. It will be nice to see what Tank can do if he was healthy for the whole year.
Critics will say that Roy Williams is questionable in pass coverage and can't stay on the field. He has two straight years of injuries that have kept him out of a lot of games. However, nobody can deny that he is an enforcer in the secondary. He adds an intangible quality that all the good defenses seem to have.
Matt Jones has looked great so far in mini camp. He is 6'6" and can create mismatch problems for defenses because of his height and speed. Way back in 2008, Jones had 65 catches for 761 yards in just 12 games.
This is a long shot but since Jones is a former college quarterback, he may make Jordan Palmer expendable. If J.T. O’Sullivan got injured, Matt Jones could come in to finish the game. It is not like 3rd string quarterback Jordan Palmer is going to win a game for the Bengals anyway. If things got bad, they could always bring in a veteran quarterback. It is very unlikely that both get injured anyway. This would allow the Bengals to keep an extra wide receiver like Jerome Simpson, Quan Cosby, or Dezmon Briscoe.
This article wonders weather Matt Jones was a good signing for the Bengals.
Don't be fooled by Kelly's career averages of 1.2 catches and 11.3 yards per game. This is a good move as it allows Kelly to mentor Chase Coffman and first-round pick Jermaine Gresham. With Kelly, the Bengals have a good blocker in a two tight end set which is just one more way we can keep the defense off balance.
Free safety was one of the Bengals top needs this off season. Chris Crocker is a marginal player. They would have probably drafted Earl Thomas if he somehow fell that far. Now, there are now four safeties on the roster who can start. Wilson signed a one year deal so he may be motivated to play hard with the hopes of cashing in for one more huge payday.
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Don't cost nothin'.