When ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that the Bengals expressed interest with free agent wide receiver Braylon Edwards, my desk became another victim in a long-line of furniture abuse; a disturbing epidemic that's faced loyal and devoted Bengals fans since 1991. But the Bengals expressed interest isn't really that surprising.
Heading into the 2008 NFL draft, the Bengals drafted two wide receivers in the first three rounds, anticipating Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh's eventual departure. Houshmandzadeh did leave for Seattle and rather than promote one of the younger receivers to replace him, the team signed Laveranues Coles to a four-year deal worth $28 million on March 4, 2009.
Exactly one year later, after an unimpressive 43-reception season, the Bengals terminated Coles' contract.
Over a week later on March 12, 2010, despite an injured knee, the Bengals signed Antonio Bryant to a four-year deal worth $28 million. As it became evident that his knee was far more problematic than the medical staff (that passed his physical) realized, the Bengals insured the position by signing Terrell Owens to a one-year deal worth $2 million. The Bengals, who already lost millions to him, terminated Bryant's contract in late August.
Now Owens played great but as of this posting, Coles, Bryant and Owens are either retired, free agents or entirely unwanted.
The key point is that throughout Cincinnati's rock ballad to find the perfect Chad Ochocinco compliment, rather than going with the younger receivers in Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell, they went with free agent veterans.
Granted it could have been circumstances. Were Simpson or Caldwell prepared for the NFL yet, or was there more truth to idle speculation that Simpson struggled to absorb Bob Bratkowski's offense? To this day we have a hard time believing that the Bengals would spend as much as they did with Coles and Bryant (no matter how much Pretty Boy Carson P. demanded it), just because they were categorized as "veteran receivers".
Curiously the Bengals are finding themselves with an eerily similar situation today as they did after the 2008 NFL draft. An open spot opposite of the superstar receiver, with two prospects recently selected through the NFL draft. Popular belief is that the Bengals will promote from within, either a player from last year's practice squad or the 2012 NFL draft (or even an undrafted free agent). My personal instincts would suggest not to stray too far from that belief.
Does it surprise me that the Bengals would express interest with a veteran wide receiver like Braylon Edwards? No. Enough recent history prepares one for such eventualities.
Does it upset me? My desk can confirm periodic moments of rage with bruises marked throughout the wood-shaded covering. Along with a no-contest aggravated assault charge and a DWI (off-the-field issues), Edwards hasn't been a productive member of the NFL community for some time.
During a career spanning eight seasons and 99 games played (out of a possible 128), Edwards has generated only one 1,000-yard season (2007) and 60 receptions or more twice (2006, 2007). He's failed to play a full 16-game schedule in three of the past four seasons and he's generated two (TWO!) 100-yard receiving games twice since December 15, 2008.
That being said I believe that the context for interest regarding Edwards is far too generalist to conclude that Edwards is anymore closer to joining the Bengals as he was last month. My assumption, based on nothing with substance, is that the Bengals are exploring options for veteran wide receivers before this weekend's rookie minicamp.
If the rookies are impressive enough, then the whole idea of a veteran wide receiver ends right then and there. If there's concerns about their eventual growth and development during their rookie seasons, the Bengals could observe (and react) the market for a No. 2 receiver.
Any of it is possible.
But does it justify a relapse, falling off the wagon after a pledge protect my furniture from the abuses of over-reactions? No. Then again it's never my fault. It's Mike Brown's, of course.