Trade Carson Palmer. Let the Chad Ochocinco era end. Re-sign the team's best free agents in Johnathan Joseph and Cedric Benson. Those are just three ideas that NFL Network's Pat Kirwan comes up that the Bengals need to accomplish this year. It's a good list. At least to start. Trading Palmer is ultimately the most practical solution, receiving draft picks while not sitting on a player's rights because of stubbornness. Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley gave us a glimpse of the post-Chad era, which will now feature rookie A.J. Green. Resolutions for Palmer and Chad make the most sense, if for anything to unload the baggage and move on.
The free agents are trickier.
The issues surrounding Adam Jones, the projected starter if Joseph leaves for free agency, could be suffocating. Two suspected neck surgeries, a Las Vegas District Attorney looking into probation violations from last weekend's arrest, could mix for a potent explosion that leaves Jones out of the team's roster in 2011. Obviously the team needs to think harder (to the point of bursting an blood vessel in the eye) about bringing Joseph back.
Cedric Benson is just as important. New offensive coordinator means new system, which will feature a rookie quarterback and a rookie wide receiver being apart of a wide receiver unit that's inexperienced at best. Benson has leadership, experience and he's shown to be productive in the past. Cincinnati will heavily weigh on Benson's workhorse attributes while the rest of the offense develops.
Almost as important are free agent linebacker Brandon Johnson, defensive end Jonathan Fanene and even guard Evan Mathis, who is worlds better than Nate Livings, giving the Bengals a decent group guards that includes Bobbie Williams and rookie Clint Boling.