Injuries will always have the greatest impact on a roster. Uncertainty about a player's availability, nagging pains that causes temporary performance degradation, and long-term injuries that require replacements, cause frustrating prognostications for teams like the Bengals. Yet it's part of the game. Teams capable of replacing an injured starter, with little to no decline, tend to have better opportunities to win championships.
However if that replacement isn't internal, then teams quickly jump into the free agency pool. This is where unsigned veterans receive the interest from teams that they struggled to find in March.
Nate Davis with USA Today lists the top free agents remaining and one might be a fit for the Bengals, writes Davis.
7. WR Brandon Lloyd — Another one with a lot of off-the-field irons in the fire and mixed reviews for his locker room comportment. But he is intelligent and possesses fantastic hands and body control. He needs to be someplace where he's a spoke and not a hub. Best fit: Bengals
Truth is, Lloyd would be a horrible fit.
In fact, general interest around the NFL has been quiet for Lloyd for a reason. Amicable for a discount rate to return to New England, the Patriots had no interest. Why? The Boston Globe wrote in February:
Lloyd’s erratic behavior in the locker room and on the practice field proved tiresome, according to a league and team source.
It's not the first time. Lloyd reportedly never departed from Joe Gibbs' dog house in Washington with an alleged poor work ethic and questionable attitude. From 2009-2011, Lloyd played in Denver. One Broncos source told the Boston Globe in 2012 that he simply wasn't a good teammate.
"I know you've heard he was good in the building, but he wasn't necessarily an angel in the building,'' said the Broncos source. "He wasn't a good teammate. During games, he was asking the stat person to see how many catches and yards he had at that point in the game when [Kyle] Orton was starting
"He has that locker room lawyer-type in him. Publicly he'll say all the right things, but in the locker room he'll voice his opinion.
"He's extremely intelligent. Very articulate, very well-read, but there were times when people in the building thought he may be bipolar - and not joking - because he has days where he's up and ready to go and happy-go-lucky and he's like, ‘Hey, what's up? How's it going?'
"And then there were other days when he was surly and moody, and you just know it's not a good day to approach him.
"He's kind of a different cat, I'll say that."
The receiver-needy New York Jets have no reported interest either, despite receivers Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill currently hurt.
Talent isn't the question. However the Bengals have tried the philosophy of veteran receivers playing over younger players, and arguably, it stalled the development for Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell at the time. Most importantly, the Bengals locker room is solid enough with talent and personality that the need to disrupt Cincinnati's chemistry isn't necessary at this point.