The Cincinnati Bengals are in a bit of trouble as the NFL trade deadline nears. After starting the year 3-0 while being the last undefeated team, they've now gone an entire month without tasting victory. A Bye Week, followed by a tie and two losses has dropped Cincinnati out of the lead for the AFC North, and even has their postseason hopes in jeopardy.
Though it's highly unlikely the Bengals acquire a player before their next game, it certainly is possible to make a trade before the October 28th deadline at 4 pm ET. There are several candidates that may be available, but there is only one who makes sense for Cincinnati, who's in desperate need of help at wide receiver.
The Tennessee Titans are reportedly shopping veteran receiver Nate Washington, and he could be the best option for the Bengals to trade for if they do in fact make a move. Washington, now 31, is in the final year of a six-year, $26.8 million contract signed in March 2009. He's making $4.8 million this season, and would be a one-year rental for Cincinnati, who can't afford to take on a player with multiple years left on his deal, which could affect the Bengals' ability to re-sign A.J. Green next year.
Washington has caught 188 passes for 2,688 passes over the past three season, but looking at his 2013 stats, you'd wonder why he's ever worth consideration. 13 catches for 169 yard isn't exactly anything to get excited over, but there's more to Washington's lack of production than a dropoff in play. A youth movement has seen Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter getting the majority of snaps and targets at WR, and that's not even accounting for Tennessee's QB woes.
Neither Jake Locker nor Charlie Whitehurst offer much at QB, and playing behind a terrible offensive line (12 sacks allowed this year) is helping his situation. It's not helping Washington that the Titans now looks ready to turn to rookie Zach Mettenberger, further moving towards a youth movement that Washington is unlikely to be part of.
Regardless, expecting Washington to carry any offense at this point isn't realistic, but he could be a valuable commodity in the right situation. In Cincinnati, he would provide the Bengals with a true veteran presence at receiver they don't have, not to mention an upgrade over Brandon Tate is a No. 3 WR.
Tate, along with Dane Sanzenbacher, Greg Little and James Wright, simply aren't offering the Bengals enough behind Mohamed Sanu and the injured Green. The Bengals have to find another legitimate pass-catcher for this offense, and Washington on a one-year rental could be just that.
As for what it would take to get Washington, a conditional 7th-round pick may be all that's needed to pry Washington from the rebuilding Titans.
That means Cincinnati would be making a deal that featured: (1. Little-to-no compensation the Bengals would have to surrender. (2. A decent veteran and a high-character guy by all accounts who won't affect the locker room in a negative way. (3. A contract that expires next offseason, and won't affect the Bengals to re-sign other players.
It seems like a layup for Cincinnati, doesn't it? Washington might not be as big of a name as Mike Williams or Vincent Jackson, but he may be the most realistic option if Cincinnati does make a trade.