I think the Bengals' efforts to attract high quality free agents will be hampered by the organization's poor reputation among players and agents, however free agent wide receivers may be attracted to the idea of playing with Carson Palmer.
Along those lines, Nate Washington of the Steelers is younger and faster than TJ and knows how to win. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com writes that former NFL personnel man Michael Lombardi, who writes for the National Football Post, actually rates Washington ahead of TJ. I really like that idea. TJ is tough but we are not going to get a discount. The idea of paying 32 year-old slot receiver $9 million+ a year seems risky. If Washington didn't drop so many balls, it would be a no-brainer. Also, what about the Titans' Justin McCareins?
Like Kirkendall, I continue to believe that the Bengals should draft a OT in the first round. Mel Kiper says Andre Smith of Alabama may now be projecting as a right tackle if he is viewed as not being able to control his weight. He showed up at the combine out of shape and refused to work out which has really hurt his stock. Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. and NFL Network's Charles Davis still have the Bengals drafting Andre Smith but Kiper has them taking Jason Smith of Baylor. With all the negative buzz about Andre Smith, maybe Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe are better options. On the other hand, the guy is absolutely huge and looked pretty dominent to me at Alabama.
Amusingly, Kiper also writes that this is the WORST group of senior QBs he has ever seen.
We in the Jungle love the University of Cincinnati's Connor Barwin. Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. writes that Barwin was so impressive in the combine that he has moved into a likely top 50 pick. Barwin ran the fastest 40 for Defensive Ends (4.66) and also led all defensive linemen in vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, and shuttle run. He also displayed "hip fluidity" which means he also projects as an outside LB in a 3-4 or even as a "Sam" LB in a 4-3.