The Cincinnati Bengals could find themselves in a sticky situation in their secondary. Not only did they come into the draft desperately needing some extra talent at the safety position, one half of their dynamic cornerback duo, Johnathan Joseph is a free agent. If the Bengals fail to re-sign him, they could be okay for the 2011 season, having Adam Jones to take his spot (as long as he's healthy and can stay healthy), but once the 2011 season ends, both Jones and Leon Hall are free agents.
So, the Bengals not re-signing Joseph for the 2011 season and beyond would be setting themselves up for failure.
The Bengals had a shot to address the problem in the 2011 NFL Draft. They could have signed a cornerback like Patrick Peterson (taken at No. 5 by the Arizona Cardinals), Prince Amukamara (taken at No. 19 by the Giants), Jimmy Smith (taken at No. 27 by the Ravens) or some of the other cornerbacks taken in the first couple rounds of the draft, but they decided not to take a cornerback until the seventh round, when they drafted Korey Lindsey.
Before you get too upset about their lack of attention to the cornerback position, which had a lot of depth, in this year's draft, let's talk about what not drafting a cornerback could mean for the Bengals.
The Bengals couldn't possibly be unaware of the potential problem they face at the quarterback position. That means their decision to pass on top tier cornerbacks in the draft means one of two things. One, they figured that they'll just deal with the problem down the road, or two, that they really believe that they can re-sign Johnathan Joseph.
One good thing about the lockout is it not only forced the Bengals to address most of their needs in the draft, but it forced other teams to do the same. The teams that could have been in the market to sign Joseph out from underneath the Bengals had to do it in the draft instead. If Arizona hadn't drafted Peterson, they may have taken a serious look at Joseph. The same goes for the Giants, Ravens, Patriots and Bills. However, now there are a few teams that would have been interested, that no longer have the need to sign a guy that will ask for the amount of money that Joseph is looking for.That fact alone could bounce Joseph right back to Cincinnati.
The ridiculously large contract awarded to Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey before the lockout went into effect could have given Joseph a measuring stick of what he felt he was worth to the Bengals or any other team around the NFL. However, the combination of the lockout and how many cornerbacks were taken in the draft could drive Joseph right back to the Bengals for the 2011 season and beyond.
If the Bengals can re-sign Joseph, he, along side Hall, could set some Bengals records if they are both signed to long term deals.