It is really hard to gauge how the Bengals should draft until free agency runs it course. Free agency is more than a team taking an offensive course to team needs, it is also a defense against rival team moves. What will be the answer by NFC East teams to Washington's recent moves? Or AFC East teams to recent New York Jet activity? What are teams to do?
One of the keys to free agency is not always about what your own team needs but what other teams, namely division rivals, stand to lose. Case in point is the Baltimore Raven defense and the free agents that they must sign to remain dominant. If Ray Lewis doesn't come back and with Bart Scott gone what will the complexion of that defense be and how will the Bengals be able to attack it? What potential weakness is being further exposed by Bengal free agency loses?
New England traded Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel, aside from clearing salary cap room what are they looking to accomplish long term? Perhaps they see something in the draft that is more appealing in the second round that will ensure yet another winning season. As opposed to holding onto an over priced backup quarterback and an aging linebacker. The use of free agency and the draft is a more complicated chess match than anyone gives it credit for being.
This piece has more questions than answers, but like most fans I confess my confusion trying to watch and keep up with free agency. So is it best for a team like the Bengals to wait and see what other teams do? Or jump in the fray and make the the bold moves? In the case of TJ Houshmandzadeh I think we all would have liked to see the Bengals jump in.
If the Bengals are choosing a path that makes strong use of the draft, then I hope they choose wisely, because free agency moves are slipping away. Some teams do not have the luxury of signing high priced talent to "save" a team now for instant results. We have watched the Steelers rebuild through the draft year after year, thus throwing more light on the proof of our inept Bengal ownership. So with Easter coming what basket should the Bengals throw their eggs in? Draft or Free Agency?