With Leon Hall expected to be placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury against the Detroit Lions (an MRI is scheduled for Monday to confirm the that the Achilles is torn), the Bengals will have to decide what to do at cornerback. Prior to Hall's injury, cornerback wasn't exceptionally deep position anyway with three proven veterans being backed up by younger players often dealing with durability issues.
We take a look at three options for the Bengals.
Wait and See
This is my preferred approach for the time being. Since I don't believe in absolutes -- aka, refusing to change an opinion based on new information -- there's no reason why the Bengals can't use this opportunity to see what they have with Dre Kirkpatrick and Brandon Ghee.
Both are healthy for now and they need playing time before final judgment is rendered in both cases. And in Kirkpatrick's case, he needs to begin to develop with more playing time during games.
And it's not like the same street free agents that are available today won't be available in two weeks if the team decides to improve the roster from outside of the organization. At some point, the team needs to get Kirkpatrick on the field or he's never going to develop.
Put simply, it's time for Kirkpatrick to step up.
If the Bengals are also looking to add a sixth cornerback, what about Onterio McCalebb getting the call-up from the team's practice squad? I highly doubt that happens; he's just not ready. But it's on the table.
Street Free Agent
That being said, the Bengals appear likely to invite a host of free agent cornerbacks this week to work on rebuilding their depth.
There are some veteran free agents out there, like Ronald Bartell, Sheldon Brown, Ras-I Dowling, Will Allen, Terrence McGee among others.
One name that could generate some interest among fans is former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt, who worked out for the Bengals last month. However, Routt has bounced around in the past year and, save for the Bengals, hasn't generated any known interest from around the league.
A good key for whom the Bengals may sign is players that they're familiar with; something they've historically done over the years. I wouldn't be surprised if Nate Clements, who is familiar with Mike Zimmer's defense, makes a return sooner rather than later.
Asking my friends on Twitter who the Bengals should trade for, the universal name was Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis. Save for the fact that Revis has a cap number of $16 million per season through 2018, the Bengals won't use their coveted draft picks that would require Tampa Bay to move him.
In fact, unless a player can be acquired using a seventh round pick (who isn't that good to begin with), I don't that we see the Bengals completing a trade before the Oct. 29 deadline.