NFL free agency is in full force - and the Enquirer's Paul Daugherty had a sobering take on the Bengals activity (or lack thereof) so far.
The Broncos signed Wes Welker. The 49ers traded for A. Boldin, The Men are OK w/M. Sanu. This is the difference between teams that go for it, and teams that talk about it.
Maybe M. Sanu is the next J. Rice. Maybe not. Welker and Boldin are known commodities. You can say the Stillers and Ravens have taken major hits in the last week; you’re right. They have playoff wins. They have Bowl rings. They have GMs. Their GMs are very smart. They get some rope. To the Bengals credit, it used to be that solid FAs didnt want to come here. Now, Detroit signs R. Bush.
It’s as if the Bengals have a restrictor plate on their ambitions. That is very frustrating.
He's 100% right. Don't get me wrong - I am all about building through the draft and not throwing silly Monopoly money at overvalued players during free agency. However, when players like Welker are out there...the fact they aren't even considering Cincinnati speaks volumes.
After Manny Lawson and Pat Sims signed with other teams - Marvin Lewis mentioned that the team has a plan, and certainly those players were not involved with those plans.
My argument is the same - and it's echoed here by Doc. The Steelers certainly don't go crazy during free agency and just lost (arguably) their #1 deep threat in Mike Wallace. The Ravens might only have 7 players a side to start the 2013 season. But the Steelers have 6 Super Bowls, and the Ravens have two and are defending champs.
Whatever the Bengals plan is - it's not something that has delivered playoff success. That covers the lost decade of the 90's, through the Carson Palmer era, and so far not in the Dalton Gang era.
A General Manager provides a consistent, steady hand and establishes a singular philosophy. That philosophy can survive coaching changes, players coming and going, etc. Imagine if Gruden or Zimmer (or both) would have left for head coaching opportunities. The entire foundation that has been built over the last 2+ years would have been blown up. With no General Manager or overarching philosophy in place, this is the risk you run every single season.
The Bengals will likely be very quiet in free agency - setting up a very critical draft in April to find some major impact players (remember, not all rookies are like AJ Green). There were very few impact players that showed up in Houston back in January.
Good luck to Director of Player Personell Duke Tobin and his three full-time scouts.