[Editor's Note: We are counting down to the 2012 year by going through the top ten stories of 2011, starting with No. 10. We'll post two today, two on Thursday, three on Friday and the final three on New Years Eve]
Before the 2011 NFL season went into lockout mode, every Bengals fan and their brothers knew that the most important thing for the team to do was re-sign Johnathan Joseph. He and Leon Hall had solidified the team's secondary and allowed Mike Zimmer to get creative with the front seven since he didn't have to worry about them much.
When the lockout ended, Bengals fans sat and waiting for the news that the team would be re-signing Joseph but instead came the news that Joseph would be leaving the Bengals for the Houston Texans.
The Texans offered Joseph more than the Bengals did and Joseph jumped to a different team that he felt gave him a better chance at heading to the playoffs. Ironically, the Bengals have been good this season but so have the Texans and you have to wonder what they could do if they still had Matt Schaub.
In response to Joseph leaving, the Bengals signed cornerback Nate Clements to play opposite of Hall. Clements has played good so far this season but is an obviously a step down in coverage. When Hall went down in Week 10 with a torn achilles, it left the Bengals with Clements, Adam Jones and Kelly Jennings. Had Joseph still been here, things would have been better but without him and Hall, the Bengals secondary fell out of the top five down to No. 12, which still isn't bad considering Jones and Clements are starting.
The Bengals will have to address the position early in the draft in 2012 to help solidify it in the future but if they had spent the necessary money to keep Joseph in Cincinnati, they could have freed up one of their two first-round picks for something else.