The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be keeping their options open if the wide receiver position doesn't shake out how they hope it will.
According to Metro New York reporter Kristian Dyer, free agent receiver David Nelson has drawn interest from the Bengals, though it doesn't appear they're still in the running for his services.
The veteran Nelson is currently a free agent but three teams have reached out to him about signing. A league source said that among those teams are the Cincinnati Bengals and an NFC North team. Nelson has reportedly turned down both offers.
Nelson, now entering his seventh NFL season, spent 2015 on I.R. with the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a shoulder injury suffered in practice. Prior to that, Nelson appeared in 18 games (11 starts) with the New York Jets from 2013-14. He caught 36 passes for 423 yards and two scores in 12 games during the 2013 season. He was limited to just eight grabs for 65 yards and no scores in 2014, his last playing season.
While Nelson has spent time with the Jets, Cincinnati's Week 1 opponent, it's unlikely he would provide much info on them, being that it was a different regime with a lot of different players than the Jets have now.
Nelson is easily one of the better free agent receivers left on the market, so the Bengals may have been trying to sign him at some point for more depth there. The report did not mention when the Bengals approached him, so it's possible the interest dates back to the summer, when the Bengals didn't know what their receiver group would prove to be.
But now that Tyler Boyd, Cody Core and Alex Erickson have emerged, signing Nelson seems like an unnecessary move unless it's as a seventh receiver. None of the top six guys are worth cutting in favor of Nelson.
However, Brandon LaFell’s lingering hand issue - as well as injuries to Cincinnati’s top two tight ends in Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft - makes carrying a seventh receiver seem like a viable option. If LaFell were to undergo surgery at some point to fix his hand, Nelson may be the first guy Cincinnati looks to sign and help fill the void for the time being.
Of course, this is all speculation, but it is interesting that Nelson had interest from the Bengals at some point this summer.