The Cincinnati Bengals' 2016 free agency period has been one of the busier ones in recent history. After signing a handful of their own players before and immediately after the onset of free agency, the Bengals decided to lay low for a little bit and assess who else could be added once the frenzy died down.
The signing of both doesn't necessarily take the Bengals out of contention to draft either position in the early rounds of the draft, but both bring a veteran presence to position groups that need them, and frees the team up as they add rookies about a month from now in the Draft.
NFL Free Agency: Grade and approval poll for Bengals signing Karlos Dansby
We grade the Karlos Dansby signing and ask if you approve of the signing.
Fan opinions are likely mixed on the LaFell signing. The naysayers will wonder which LaFell will be arriving in Cincinnati: the very productive player from 2014 who helped the Patriots win a Super Bowl, or the one who had injury and drop issues from 2015?
It's likely also hard for fans to be immediately enamored with the signing of LaFell after two popular, productive wideouts left in free agency just a few weeks prior to his Cincinnati arrival. The veteran receiver isn't Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu, but brings a skill set that should help the Bengals' offense after losing two major weapons.
The positives on LaFell joining the Bengals range from size, to a championship background, to sheer need of veteran depth at the position. Signing LaFell opens up the options in the draft, and doesn't force the Bengals to rely heavily on rookies who might struggle catching up to the pace of the pros, thus potentially hindering Andy Dalton after an outstanding 2015 campaign.
It's a mixed bag of positives and negatives with LaFell and the Bengals, and a true grade might not be able to be properly given until after he steps on the field in Week 1. Like the Dansby signing, this seems to be a low-risk, relatively high-reward type of signing. Other facets of the deal's legitimacy reside in LaFell's role with the Bengals in 2016--is he their No. 2 guy who disappoints, or much lower on the receiver option totem pole, but remains productive nonetheless?
For now, I'd say it's a pretty good signing, but not one that blows me away.