If the Bengals could sign a guy like Keith Brooking, would you take it? The Atlanta Journal Constitution points out that Brooking and the Falcons are in the middle of stalled negotiations in which "both sides are struggling a little bit to assess" Brooks' market value.
As of right now, the Bengals have two likely outside backers starting the season, Keith Rivers and Rashad Jeanty with an expected offer for Brandon Johnson coming soon. What about Corey Mays? Darryl Blackstock? While the Bengals could go heavy in the draft to keep building their core linebackers, like they did with the secondary from 2006-2007, they're just as likely to re-sign their restricted free agents.
The issue of course, from our perspective is cost. Can the Bengals find that market value that Brooks' representative Pat Dye Jr. is trying to assess? Furthermore, would the deal be worth it for a five-time Pro Bowl player that recently had his seven-year, $41 million deal voided because of a playing time clause he reached? Another issue is desire. Does a guy like Brooking want to come to Cincinnati to play for the Bengals? In fact, ask EVERY available free agent that question. Brooking will turn 33 in October, which could be a concern.
Either way, we don't expect it to happen.
Our primary focus, however, is that the Bengals find themselves with few linebackers on roster, several of whom will sign one-year deals leaving a void next season. Same thing happens next year, another void exists the following season. Rotating a series of one-year linebackers to keep the depth chart full, while not having a set of core guys, hampers the defensive improvements that the Bengals could actually use for sustaining success. I suppose we've never been one to develop, and that's why we put such a premium on our secondary guys being the most developed unit during the Marvin Lewis era via the draft.
Back to the original question, and this is on you guys. Would you sign a guy like Brooking, or develop linebackers through the draft?