The post 'Best Offseason in a Long Time' by DCBengalFan and the comments between jim0ijk got me thinking (I know scary, huh?). Which Offseason was better? This years or last years? I am going to break each offseason down in a variety of categories such as Players added, Players lost, Draft, etc....
I am going with players added and players lost instead of simply showing it as Free Agents added or lost. This will account for trades. I will then break down each category based on who we added and lost in each area. I am sure I will miss some of the lesser known players in each area. I am only concerned with showing players that have contributed or will contribute very soon. So if I missed a Free Agent we signed that made it to the Practice Squad it wouldn't factor into helping that year much anyway. Feel free to discuss any that you think are important that I missed.
Players Lost (Free Agents and trades)
Chris Henry (Death)
2009: We lost TJ in 2009. We are still trying to recover the Passing game from losing him. Stacy Andrews was a significant loss for us last year, at the time. We recovered from it nicely but it was still a significant loss at the time. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not much of a factor. Levi Jones was also lost. The Bengals decided he had nothing left to offer. Again the Offensive Line played good last year with all of the new players and players that moved to a new position.
2010: There is some big names in both years that were lost but, as most avid Bengals fans know, Larry Johnson and Shaun Smith were only signed for half the year and there was never a real plan to keep either player beyond last year. Add to that the fact that we may be better off that Graham doesn’t sign. It is important to note that it isn’t official that we have lost Shayne Graham. I think almost all signs point to him leaving, however. We cut Laveranues Coles after one year. This is actually not a significant loss. In fact give those snaps to most receivers that have made it to the NFL and they would have similar or better numbers. N ot much if any of a loss, IMO. While we tragically lost Chris Henry to an accident I am not counting that against the offseason. It is not the Front Office’s fault that a tradedy happened. There was nothing the Franchise could have done to protect against this. Also this actually happened during last season so I'm not sure it should be factored into an Offseason.
MY WINNER IN PLAYERS LOST: 2010
Players Added (Free Agency and Trades)
2009: We added Laveranues Coles, whom was supposed to be an adequate replacement for TJ. Well that didn’t quite work out now did it? We are still trying to find a replacement that can come close to the production TJ provided. Even with Coles underperforming and being a Free Agent Bust 2009 still has some ammo. We added Starters Tank Johnson and Roy Williams. We added Brian Leonard in a trade. He ended up being a GREAT third down back and kept drives alive all year on crucial third down plays. JT was not much of a factor as we hope any backup QB wouldn’t be. If Roy Williams would have stayed healthy then I would have probably gave the edge to 2009, it was that close IMO. Also with a healthy Tank we may see even more production from him this year.
2010: We signed the best Unrestricted Free Agent Receiver available in Antonio Bryant. The problem is this is still an affect of losing TJ in the 2009 offseason. Our passing game is still trying to recover. I believe Antonio Bryant will be atleast part of the answer to replace TJ. I expect him to have a very SOLID season, at the very least. We added Safety Depth with Gibril Wilson. If we continue to have injuries at Safety then Wilson could start multiple games this year. A solid addition for depth. Now to the intriguing and hard to analyze additions. Adam Jones, is probably going to win the Nickelback CB spot, IMO. I know the coaches have said he isn’t even guaranteed to make the team. They also said he looked extremely good. He definitely makes the team and will improve the depth at CB, IMO. Matt Jones, is another player that I believe will make this Football team. I think he offers something that the Bengals can’t get our of any of the other receivers that he is battling for a roster spot-BIG PLAY ABILITY. He can stretch the Defense and causes plenty of matchup nightmares for opposing Defenses. If both Matt and Adam Jones stay out of trouble and work hard they will make this Football team, IMO. They can also make big contributions. Adam may contribute heavily on Special Teams as well. While I believe that Adam and Matt make this team it will not surprise me if, for one reason or another, one of them doesn’t make it.
This one is very very hard to judge. We don’t really know how these players will pan out for the Bengals. Of course most of this article is based on a fans opinion. With that being said, I will give he edge slightly to 2010. I do have to admit after looking at the specific players that were added this was far closer than I imagined.
MY WINNER IN PLAYERS ADDED: 2010 (For Now!)
Draft (this will also include UDFA who have contributed or may contribute)
2009- I selected 2009 as the better draft without much contribution out of our first round pick. Andre Smith was injured most of the year after a lengthy holdout. Going off of the contributions we got out of our other players and Andre Smith’s potential it is clearly 2009. We got starters: Rey, Smith, Huber, and Fui Vakapuna starts this year. We also got plenty of key backups: Bernard Scott, Michael Johnson, Morgan Trent, Tom Nelson, Quan Cosby, and Morgan Trent all contributed heavily as rookies, either as backups or on Special Teams. Add Chase Coffman to that list, as he should contribute at TE now that he is healthy and has had a year to learn the system and learn how to in-line block. That is a lot of contribution out of one draft. If we consistently have drafts close to this one we will consistently be contenders.
2010- We had a good draft this year. We got the best TE, in Jermaine Gresham, and it was at a position of need. We also added Pass Rush help and a potential starter in Carlos Dunlap. Jordan Shipley will get plenty of snaps at the slot position, and will be a great slot receiver in the future, IMO.. We added depth in Brandon Ghee, who has the physical talent to develop into a starter. They also stole Dezmond Briscoe in the 6th round. He was widely considered a 3rd round pick, some even had him as a late 2nd. He is very young and with time could also develop into a starter. We also added depth to the Offensive line, LB position, and pass rush from the interior Defensive Line. Solid Draft overall.
MY WINNER FOR THE BEST DRAFT IS: 2009
Again this is hard to predict because we have no guarantee’s that any player will perform as predicted. You also never know when a 7th rounder turns out to be a Pro Bowler (TJ Houshmandzadeh). I also tried to go off of how they drafted at the position they were in. Obvioulsy we had higher picks in 2009. I tried to factor that in. Going off of what we know now, I picked 2009, and although 2010 was a solid to good draft 2009 was SO good it wasn’t even close in my mind. Granted we may have a different perspective in 3 years. As I have said I am going off of what I know and what I project.
According to the information above I would give the slight edge overall to this years Offseason based on a few things. It won 2 out of the 3 categories. The second category could easily go either way, IMO. If Roy Williams played the entire season then I would possibly go with 2009, as of now. The other thing that factors in is that we lost TJ. If we hadn’t lost TJ how far could we have gotten last year???? We are still trying to bring in players to replace TJ. Another factor is the low risk-high reward players we brought in this year. I think that Matt and Adam Jones could contribute a lot to this team if they put in the proper work. If not then we are out NOTHING. I will have to admit that, after looking at it like this it was WAY closer than I had thought and I definitely see where some people would pick last year. In fact if we revisit this post after this coming year we could very easily see a different outcome.
Feel free to discuss and argue my points if you do not agree. I know this is mainly based off of potential or opinion. What else are we going to do during the offseason? Let me know what you all think!