The news that the NFL's free agency rules would resemble the those used from 2006-2009, in which a player only needed four years of service to be an unrestricted free agent, came last week, and our first thoughts, because we're Bengals fans, of course were negative.
That means that Johnathan Joseph and Brandon Johnson could walk right out of Cincinnati and the Bengals would get absolutely nothing in return for them. Had they been restricted free agents, the Bengals could have gotten at least a couple of draft picks, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
But, like anything, there are two sides to every story. While the free agency rules going back to the 2009 rules is bad news, especially considering how important it is for the Bengals to re-sign Joseph, it could be good news too. What about the other players around the league who will be unrestricted free agents that the Bengals could get their hands on?
NFL Network Insider Jason La Confora believes that the new (old) free agent rules could benefit the Bengals in the form of Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.
Bruce Gradkowski has won some games for Tampa Bay and Oakland without much of a supporting cast. He is a game, and teammates love him. He has strong leadership skills and plays hurt. He as ties to Jay Gruden already, and the Bengals will need a veteran to add to rookie Andy Dalton should Carson Palmer go ahead and retire.
When Jon Gruden was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his younger brother , Jay, who is now the Bengals offensive coordinator, was the offensive assistant, the Buccaneers drafted Gradkowski late in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The Grudens and Gradkowski worked together for two years until Jay Gruden left Tampa Bay when his brother was fired in 2008.
The two are familiar with each other and even though Gradkowski has won some games, teams around the league aren't going to be scrambling around to sign him so he can lead them to the Super Bowl. He may see the Bengals as his best chance to start and make an impact in the NFL, and even if he doesn't start, he could be of great use for the team as a veteran quarterback.
He might not be Donovan McNabb and he's certainly no Carson Palmer, but if the Bengals want a veteran quarterback that can start or be a backup to Dalton and they want to do it without spending a ton of money, Gradkowski could be their guy.