It’s way too early to condemn or praise this signing of Antonio Bryant. I would have liked to have signed Brandon Marshall because he’s way more proven, but then we would’ve given up a first round pick. Granted, I think giving up a first round pick for Marshall would have been easily worth it, but a good team really builds through the draft rather than free agency. With Bryant, the Bengals are taking a little bit more risk, but they get to keep their first round draft pick, AND it lessens the pressure to reach for a receiver in the first round. Basically, it gives the Bengals more breathing room to draft the best player — regardless of position — at number 21.
I know, I know, most people say that we should draft a tight end at no. 21, but I don’t know if that’s a foregone conclusion. If there is some stud offensive guard or defensive tackle, I’d say go for it. Tight end is still a huge position of need, but you gotta go for the best player available. Look at the Reds: They drafted Yonder Alonso, a first baseman, after they saw that Joey Votto was going to be a franchise player. Just because the kid can hit (of course now they’re looking for him to play a new position, but that’s another story).
What scares me a little bit is that we just resigned Dan Coats, who was flat out awful in the passing game. Way too many drops. But he can block okay and I don’t mind if we keep him for that purpose. But we do need someone who can catch and we have that in Chase Coffman, but we could use some more talent in there.
Overall, the Bengals took a slight chance with signing Bryant vs. trading a first round pick for the better prospect of Brandon Marshall. But the Bengals get to keep their first round pick, have a less-proven-but-potentially-very-good receiver, AND we don’t have to worry (too much, it still could happen, but I would highly doubt it) about having the T.O. circus come to town.
So the Bryant signing is a calculated risk, and it’s the one with the highest potential ceiling, but it could also bite us in the ass. Time will tell if it pans out.To read more: http://bengals.gearupforsports.com/blog/2010/03/coles-gone-bryant-signed-no-t-o-probably/