With a plethora of injuries hitting a variety of different position groups on the Bengals' roster, some are wondering if a trade could be in the works to help fill some holes. A case could be made that moves for a(n) offensive guard, center, running back, linebacker, or defensive end could be attempted by Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis and Co. To the casual outsider, the team has a reputation for not making splashy trades and not rocking the boat too much.
The truth is, the evidence over the past few years points to another potential trade this year. Since 2009, the team has made trades late in the preseason to finalize their roster. Given the fact that the Bengals are far down the waiver claim chain because of their 2011 playoff campaign, the team's best shot at getting a decent contributor for this season might have to come via trade.
Let's look at some of the evidence that would point to a trade again this year.
May 7th, 2009--The "White Lightning" Trade for Brian Leonard: The Bengals made their first player-for-player trade in the 2000's with the Leonard trade. They sent Orien Harris to the Rams straight up for the third down specialist, and Leonard has since become a cult fan favorite in Cincinnati. The best part? The Rams cut Harris and the Bengals ended up with signing him back, sealing one of their best trades in team history, given its overall one-sidedness. Though this wasn't in the late portion of the offseason, it was still a late move based on need.
September 4th, 2010--The Bengals rob the Jaguars for safety Reggie Nelson: After the final cuts in the 2010 season, the Bengals struck an eleventh-hour deal with Jacksonville to bring the free safety to Cincinnati. The sent embattled cornerback David Jones and a conditional seventh-round pick to the Jaguars for Nelson, who fell out of favor with then-coach Jack Del Rio. The team didn't even end up having to send the pick to the Jaguars and Jones was cut by midseason. It was another great move for the Bengals, as Nelson played at a near Pro Bowl level in 2011.
August 22nd, 2011--The Taylor Mays Steal: One man's trash is another man's treasure. After investing a second round pick in Mays just a year earlier, new 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was done with the young safety. Rumor has it that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer stood on the table for the team to take Mays in the second round but was leapfrogged by San Francisco. He ended up getting him a year later than he originally wished and now is poised to start the 2012 season opposite Nelson. The team relinquished their 2013 seventh round pick to acquire Mays. So far, it seems as if this is another one-sided deal in favor of the Bengals.
August 29th, 2011--Making the trade for Kelly Jennings: The Bengals sent defensive tackle Clinton McDonald to the Seattle Seahawks for cornerback Kelly Jennings. McDonald wasn't likely to make the team, even though the coaches loved him, so they decided to ship him out to get depth at a position of need--cornerback. The team was still reeling from losing Johnathan Joseph to free agency and they weren't sure how much Nate Clements would be giving them, even though he ended up being pretty solid. (A tip of the cap to commenter "The_Black_Stripes" for bringing this to my attention--I knew one was slipping past me).
This isn't including the Carson Palmer mega-deal, as that was in-season and reaped two draft picks, not any players. With one trade per year over the past three seasons, we wouldn't be surprised to see it happen again this season. Though Jeff Faine was signed as a band-aid to put over the Kyle Cook injury at center, there are still a lot of uncertainties at other areas. If one were to happen, look for it to be after the final cuts after they see who is on the open market and who they'd need to strike a deal for.