The Importance Of Brandon Johnson Following The Departure Of Keith Rivers

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Brandon Johnson #59 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bengals won 24-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Keith Rivers' inability to remain healthy kept him off the field for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 and will now keep him off the Bengals' roster in 2012. Earlier today, Rivers was traded to the New York Giants for a 5th round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Rivers did not play in 2011 and played limited time in 2010, so what the Bengals lose with the departure of Rivers cannot be immediately judged. What can be taken from the trade, however, is the lack of depth the Bengals now have at the linebacker position. Recently, Cincy Jungle's own Josh Kirkendall theorized how Keith Rivers could become the next Brandon Johnson. Now that Rivers is gone, Cincinnati needs Brandon Johnson to stay--which means the Bengals must re-sign the aforementioned linebacker.

What that job description entails is a solid, reliable back up linebacker who also excels as a part of the special teams unit. In 2011, Brandon Johnson played 621 snaps.

Lewis won't rule out re-signing backup OLB Brandon Johnson with #Bengals. 3 hours ago via web · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Johnson was re-signed last year after Roddrick Muckelroy ruptured his achilles, so he is no stranger to situations such as the Bengals currently find themselves. Soon after the announcement of the Keith Rivers trade, Cincy Jungle's own Joe Goodberry tweeted the following:

I assume Brandon Johnson will be contacted shortly if not already. RT @OregonBengalFan: @JoeGoodberry Who's behind Howard at WLB? 1 hour ago via twicca · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Sign Brandon Johnson or leave him on the market--what do you think?

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