+ MORE ON BRAYLON EDWARDS. We made the argument on Tuesday that the Bengals should avoid Braylon Edwards, not just for his seemingly self-absorbed attitude or issues off the field, rather, a more simplistic perspective that he's been somewhat of an unproductive receiver for some time now. Others have made differing perspectives, such as Joe Reedy pointing out the lack of experience on the current wide receiver depth chart. A position several people have taken up for their more balanced view point.
Regardless the issue just isn't dead for me just yet. Based on some of the great comments issued on the original article (linked above), we offer reasoned responses about an issue we're developing strong opinions.
There's the issue of health.
The San Francisco 49ers released Braylon Edwards in late December after suffering a knee injury, compounded by a shoulder ailment that he dealt with all season last year. Perhaps his 15-reception effort is the result of those factors, but wouldn't that suggest further caution on exploring him as a free agent wide receiver? Cincinnati was burned last time they signed a free agent receiver with a known knee issue with the hope of a full recovery before training camp.
Even if he recovers enough to play football next season, he's hardly the player the Jets had in 2010 when he generated over 900 yards receiving or anything close to the talent that came into the league as the No. 3 overall selection during the 2005 NFL draft.
It's not the time to demand the Bengals sign anyone.
When you decide to go younger on the roster, you tend to have an infinite number of variables that require additional data for reasoned solutions based on available choices. How do we know already that Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones will not be studs during their rookie year? And how do we know that Edwards will bring anything to the table beyond name recognition, despite the injuries and overall lack of production as a perceived No. 1 and No. 2 (or No. 1b) in his seasons with Cleveland and New York.
It's early May and there will be time for the team to make a decision. But we suspect the first order of business is monitoring the rookies (and players already on the roster), developing them and seeing how they can help evolve Jay Gruden's offense this year.
There's no one else on the Bengals roster or defenses to be concerned about.
Aside from the fact that Jermaine Gresham is actually a viable threat that continues growing into the mold of what tight ends have become in today's NFL, Edwards hasn't been a worry for opposing defenses for some time. Despite career marks in 2007 (80 receptions, 1,289 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns), Edwards has failed to record another 1,000-yard season, more than 61 receptions during the other six seasons of his career.
But I look at it this way. No matter who is on the field, opposing defenses will be consumed by A.J. Green, who routinely beat two-three man coverages last year. It's not like we're offering someone like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald opposite of Green to disperse overall attention. That's insane. Even with Edwards, defenses will nonchalantly point out where he's lined up while all but one member of the secondary stare at A.J. Green in his two-point stance.
In essence Green will provide the No. 2 receiver, no matter whom, a greater degree for success based on the likely single-coverages that player is expected to see.
If the Bengals eventually feel that Edwards maximizes that value, so be it.
The original article is slanted against Edwards.
Obviously when we title something in the headline why the Bengals shouldn't do something, it's going to be slanted. It's going to be opinionated. As much as people that comment on the site have opinions, we do too. And yes, it is my opinion that Edwards wouldn't be the benefit people are making him out to be. It's health, it's lockerroom camaraderie, it's production, call it what you want.
One commenter asked, "Is 1000 yards really necessary for a 2nd receiver?"
During his final three seasons, including last year's 15-reception effort with the San Francisco 49ers (which included a knee injury and eventual release after nine games played), Edwards is averaging 37.7 receptions for 588.3 yards receiving. That's as many receptions Andre Caldwell had last year and eight yards less than Gresham.
Would you really care if you didn't recognize the name.
Let's call it what it is, it's name recognition. Sure he had a good season in 2010, but including that year he's still averaging less than 40 receptions per season for the last three years. Would you then argue for or against the signing if you didn't immediately recognize his name, or hope that the Bengals do a better job developing and integrating their younger players than they did with Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell?