Florio's Bengals Checklist: Part Two

Editor's Note: Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio has been writing post-lockout to-do lists for teams throughout the NFL. After writing one for the Browns and the Steelers, he moved on to the BengalsHe came up with six things that the Bengals need to do right away once the lockout is lifted. After writing up all six things in one article and realizing that I had written a 1,500-word book, I decided to split the article into two pieces. Here's part two.

Here's No. 4.

"Spend Money on a Cornerback"

(Yes)

What Florio says:

One way to do that would be to break out the checkbook for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Ok, you can stop laughing. We realize that Cincinnati signing Asomugha would be an even bigger surprise than Reggie White choosing Green Bay 18 years ago, and that it most likely won't happen. But whether it's Antonio Cromartie or Ike Taylor or Carlos Rogers, the Bengals need to invest in one of the top free-agent cornerbacks.

(NOOO!)

What we say:

What about Johnathan Joseph? He's considered to be one of the top free-agent cornerbacks this year, plus he already knows what he's doing within the Bengals system. So, why not just re-sign Joseph to a good, long-term deal and keep the Joseph-Hall duo together. That would make more sense to me than bringing in a cornerback from another team. 

Of course if the Bengals try and fail to re-sign Joseph, then they would have to look at other options, but the first thing they should do once the lockout is lifted is try to bring back J-Joe.

"Spend Money on the Defensive Line"

What Florio says:

After (on in lieu of) getting a big-name cornerback, the Bengals need to spend some of that cap minimum on the defensive line, preferably in the form of a high-end pass rusher. Antwan Odom has fallen off dramatically since Popping an Achilles' tendon and getting popped for his performance enhancing drugs. Odom had eight sacks through six games in 2009. He has zero since.

What we say:

The Bengals could free up some cap space by letting both Antwan Odom and Robert Geathers, who will soak up $8.45 million in 2011, go once the lockout is lifted. Neither Odom nor Geathers were as productive as rookie defensive end Carlos Dunlap was in 2010. The Bengals could probably let both Odom and Geathers go and allow Michael Johnson to start opposite of Dunlap. The two speed rushers could make a great team.

However, the Bengals once liked the idea of Michael Johnson playing outside linebacker and if they don't re-sign Dhani Jones, allowing Rey Maualuga to move to the middle where he belongs, there would be an opening for Johnson at outside linebacker. However, who would play defensive end. 

Well, Florio suggests the Bengals sign a guy like Ray Edwards. If the Bengals decide that they do want to move Johnson away from defensive end, or they just decide that he isn't good enough to start there, they could go after a free agent. However, they would need to make sure that they aren't just signing another Geathers or Odom. If they can sign a productive pass rusher to start opposite of Dunlap, I will feel sorry for any quarterback that has to deal with Dunlap, the new defensive end, Geno Atkins and Johnson or even Dontay Moch.

"Get Quarterback Help"

What Florio says:

Jordan Palmer isn't the answer, and neither is Dan LeFevour. Andy Dalton very well may be the future, but the Bengals need some protection in the even that Dalton isn't ready to start as a rookie.

The Bengals will have several options. The sooner they make a move on the guy they want after the lockout ends, the better off they'll be.

What we say:

Florio hit the nail right on the head on this one. The Bengals will definitely need to sign a veteran quarterback for the 2011 season and possibly beyond. Right now, the three quarterbacks on the Bengals roster (not including Carson Palmer of course) have a total of 15 pass attempts in NFL games, all Jordan's. It's clear that the team needs somebody with experience.

The question is, though, should the Bengals go after a starting veteran or a veteran to sit behind Dalton and show him the ropes from the sideline. Either way, we know that Dalton is the starter of the future, we just don't know when his future will actually start. The Bengals could always sign a guy like Bruce Gradkowski, who could serve the Bengals as both a potential starter or as a backup.

Either way, signing a veteran is a must.

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