+ Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have two players signed (those reactions in just a moment), the obsessive news of the day falls on Reggie Nelson and what decision he's expected to make on Sunday. The New York Jets have reportedly sent a contract offer to Nelson's representatives on Saturday. Rather then immediately putting pen on dotted line, the safety is taking his time making a decision. And by taking his time, we really mean that Nelson's representative is doing some last-minute shopping to see if there's a better deal out there. Two other teams are reportedly interested. The awesome mysterious team (who we believe is Miami but often a device for agents to generate value) and the Cincinnati Bengals, who we believe may have allowed Nelson to hit free agency to monitor his overall value depreciation, hopefully signing him to a more manageable deal.
If they get him back, then it would prove a successful strategy. Rather than giving him what he wants before free agency, they've saved more money with the exact same move. But the Bengals have so much money to spend -- blah, blah, blah. The cold hard truth is that this isn't your money. It's the Browns'. And if he uses a strategy like this to lower a price tag while still bringing Nelson back, then what's the big deal? If he didn't and Nelson signs a deal north of $5 million per season, then they weren't going to pay an over-inflated value for a safety that's had one good year anyway.
Regardless a decision is expected today.
+ Popularly known as being the first Bengals free agent signing this year, offensive lineman Travelle Wharton signed a three-year deal worth $10 million on Saturday afternoon. Though the impression of a poor pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus might seem insignificant, considering that he only allowed three quarterback sacks -- though he did allow 30 pressures, which is pretty high -- his overall run blocking score (according to PFF who called it a common sense move) is rather mediocre. He's played left guard for much of the past two seasons and in 2009, he shifted out as a starting left tackle midway through the season.
Wharton isn't a vast improvement over the departing Nate Livings, but Cincinnati simply needs bodies. Additionally it shouldn't be a foregone conclusion that Wharton will be the team's starting offensive guard at either spot. If they're focusing him at left guard, most likely it'll be a matter of competition between he and Clint Boling. Additionally Otis Hudson shouldn't be ruled out of projections, who was highly regarded by offensive lineman Paul Alexander during last year's training camp before his injury. Regardless the move doesn't change things in regards to the NFL draft, likely selecting one of this year's top guard prospects.
+ Cincinnati finally signed a cornerback to help fill the gaps on their depth chart with Jason Allen expected to be the team's third-string cornerback against three-wide formations. Allen, formerly with Miami and Houston, signed a two-year deal worth $8.2 million on Saturday after being one of three cornerbacks that the team invited several days ago. The six-year veteran has played 94 games, with only 23 starts, entering his seventh season with 10 interceptions in the past two years and 15 overall.
Scout, Inc. writes of Allen:
Allen is a tall cornerback with good straight-line speed but it is difficult for him to flip his hips to turn and run with receivers on go routes. He tends to be a little sloppy in transition and will take too long to redirect and drive on balls thrown in front of him. He knows how to use his size and arm length to compete for passes shows good ball skills. He needs to be more physical on run support and become more of a student of route recognition and reading the quarterback from off coverage.
Allen generated an opposing quarterback rating of 69.0 in 2011, while receivers only caught 50.6 percent of the passes in which they were targeted with Cincinnati's newest cornerback covering. Here's the past two seasons where his contributions were significantly on defense and not special teams (which was a role he played towards the end of his Dolphins career).
|Perc. Comp||Yrds||TD||INT||Passer Rating|
And much like Wharton signing earlier in the day, Allen won't change the team's plans at cornerback. If there's a first-round prospect they like with one of their first-round picks, Cincinnati more than likely makes the selection.
+ There are still two upcoming visits on tap addressing the running back position. Though there's limited expectations that anything comes out of the visit with Benjarvus Green-Ellis, The Law Firm is visiting on Sunday with Michael Bush joining him on Monday. We would be surprised if Bush isn't signed early next week.