It was somewhat surprising when the news broke that the Bengals had released wide receiver and punt returner Quan Cosby in favor of Brandon Tate considering that Cosby owned the Bengals record for average yards per punt return at 10. It wasn't necessarily Tate's ability as a return specialist that drew Marvin Lewis and the Bengals to put in a claim on him in waivers, though. It was his big-play potential on offense.
Lewis also said newly-claimed wide receiver Brandon Tate is going to return punts as well as kicks, but said the major reason Tate interested him is the 600 snaps he played at receiver for the Patriots and showed big-play potential with an 18-yard per catch average and three touchdowns.
Lewis said it was a tough cut in exchanging Tate for Quan Cosby, but "We went to another reliable player who had tremendous hands and ability to make big plays. Quan's been very steady and strong and is a great person but this kid is a player we know on Sundays offensively gives us a little more of a threat."
In 18 games over two seasons, Tate has 24 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns. He also averaged 25.8 yards per kickoff return. Cosby only has six career catches for 71 yards and no touchdowns and while his yards per punt return average is high, 10 yards, his kickoff return average is 17.7 yards.
If Tate can get acclimated to Jay Gruden's playbook quickly, he could add an extra deep threat at the wide receiver position.