2013 NFL Free Agency: Bengals Reportedly Contemplated Trade For Rolando McClain

Thearon W. Henderson

When the Raiders sent out word around the league that they were open to trading former first round linebacker Rolando McClain, the Bengals may have been interested.

Over the past few seasons, the Bengals have made a few trades for players--making it an almost annual theme. In 2009, the team traded Orien Harris to the Rams for running back Brian Leonard. That trade had to be one of the most one-sided in team history, as the Bengals were able to bring back Harris later in the year. There were also the two trades in 2011 for safety Taylor Mays and cornerback Kelly Jennings. It appears that in 2013 the Bengals were looking at another potential trade, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.

McClain has been another in a long line of draft disappointments for the Oakland Raiders. Drafted No.8 overall in the 2010 draft, the former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker has battled some injuries and off-field issues. From January of 2011 to January of 2013, McClain has had three run-ins with the law. That, coupled with a huge salary in a cap-strapped Raiders team, made him expendable.

The Raiders initially attempted to trade McClain, but there were no takers--even though the Bengals were reportedly involved in talks, be it internal or with the Raiders front office. On Monday, it was reported that McClain went through waivers unclaimed and that there are three teams interested in his services. By Hobson's report, it doesn't sound as if they are interested any longer.

Bengals owner Mike Brown, head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer have all made a practice of taking on reclamation projects. Their team is littered with former high picks that have fizzled out elsewhere and they have gotten quite a bit out of them to assist in wins. McClain could be another in a line of Cincinnati success stories--after all, he's only 23 years old.

However, if the team had plans to start him with Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict, they would be trotting out three very similar players at the position group. If the plan was to plug him in the middle, they could keep Burfict at the weakside where he flourished in 2012, and have Maualuga move to the strong side linebacker spot where we saw some better play from 2009-2010.

We'll see in the coming days if the Bengals are one of those "three teams" or if Hobson's assessment is more accurate where their interest has cooled.

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