Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
The Cincinnati Bengals signed DE/LB Aaron Maybe on Friday. If you're not sure about the signing or have an issue with that, read this first.
There's any number of directions one can place a reaction after the Cincinnati Bengals announced on Friday that they've signed Aaron Maybin. Why would the Bengals sign a known bust? This is the best they can do? They're signing cheap talent that no one wanted in the first place.
If any of the above characterizes one of your many complex reactions, let's offer a momentary break to practice lamaze.
Let's first establish Cincinnati's current roster. Rey Maualuga, Thomas Howard, Manny Lawson and Dan Skuta are entering free agency as unrestricted free agents, leaving Vontaze Burfict, Emmanuel Lamur, Dontay Moch and J.K. Schaffer as the only linebackers signed in 2013. Vincent Rey is an exclusive-rights free agent, which means if the team wants to sign him, they keep him. No questions asked.
If the team applied Maybin as a defensive end, then we have Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilberry as unrestricted free agents, leaving Carlos Dunlap, Jamaal Anderson and DeQuin Evans as the remaining ends signed through 2013.
WE NEED BODIES!
Signing Maybin doesn't upset or change the free agency dynamic. Prove you belong, will be the test facing the fifth-year player. Beyond that the Bengals will proceed into free agency and the 2013 NFL draft as originally planned. Effort to re-acquire your own free agents, apply needs to both positions and see where the chips land. Nothing has changed on that front.
If Maybin turns into something more than that of a player playing on a minimal one-year deal that makes the 53-man roster, they've found themselves an unexpected prize, a contributor on a defense that finished No. 7 in 2013. If not. He's cut. No dead money. No salary cap issues. Nothing more to the story than any other undrafted free agent that failed to make the best of his opportunity.
Then you have the Mike Zimmer dynamic; a defensive coordinator that's helped reestablish confidence and careers with players like Reggie Nelson, Adam Jones and even provided a momentary a burst of new NFL life with Terence Newman and even Tank Johnson. Fill in the blank with most defensive players granting considerable praise for Zimmer's efforts to help build and rebuild NFL careers. It's not something he's tasked with doing regularly -- it just happens.
Let's face facts: Zimmer is the perfect coach capable of getting something out of a player believed to have nothing left.
If the application of money spent isn't the issue, nor the shift in roster philosophy (aka, how the draft and free agency is affected), or roster availability for others, what exactly is the problem? There is none.