ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24: Michael Turner #33 of the Atlanta Falcons rushes away from Morgan Trent #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Georgia Dome on October 24 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Last year, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Morgan Trent suffered a knee injury against the Miami Dolphins in week eight of the 2010 season and was placed on injured reserve after the Bengals lost to the Steelers in week nine.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Trent believes his knees if fully recovered and back to 100 percent, which, if true, is very good news for the Bengals.
Trent, who was part of a fellowship mission to Haiti last month, said he is fully recovered from the knee injury that cut short his season after week 9.
Trent said he feels the best he has felt since he entered the league in 2009.
Trent was drafted by the Bengals in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of the University of Michigan. He played in the nickel position for most of his rookie season, racking up 28 tackles, one sack and four passes defensed. He played a fairly large part in helping the Bengals make their way to the playoffs in 2009.
Then, before the 2010 season, the Bengals signed former first-round pick Adam Jones to a two-year deal. Jones took Trent's job at the nickel position until he suffered a season ending neck injury. Trent then went down with his knee injury.
It's important that Trent's knee is back to 100 percent. If the Bengals are unable to re-sign Johnathan Joseph when the lockout is lifted, it's likely that the day one starters would be Leon Hall and Adam Jones. However, Jones just got out of his neck brace in early May and is now just starting to participate in light workouts. If he's not 100 percent by the beginning of the season and Joseph signs with another team, Trent will be competing for a starting job with guys like Brandon Ghee and Rico Murray. Even if Joseph does return, Trent could take the nickel position slot back.
Even if Jones is the day-one starter, Trent will go back to playing the nickel position and would be the fist to step in if either Jones or Hall would be injured.
Despite being a first-round pick, Joseph only made $875,000 in 2010. There's no question that he has, and will continue, to demand much more than that for his next contract, no matter who that will be with, and he deserves more. It's unclear how much Joseph believes he worth, but the Broncos signing Champ Bailey, who is seven years older, to a four-year $43 million contract, may have given Joseph a kind of measuring stick to how much he thinks he's worth.
If Joseph demands a Bailey-like contract, there's likely a fairly minimal chance that he'll find himself on the Bengals roster in 2011. If that's the case, Trent, and his fully recovered knee, will play a much larger role in 2011.