Tampa Signs Derrick Ward

Former Giant RB Derrick Ward is now a Buccaneer.

The Bengals had courted Ward as a possible alternative to Cedric Benson, who visited with Houston today.

The Bengals’ options in free agency are decreasing rapidly. With T.J. Houshmandzadeh gone to Seattle, Nate Washington a Titan and Ward a Buc, Laveranues Coles comes to Cincinnati tomorrow as the last top wideout available in free agency. Similarly, Benson is now the No. 1 back remaining on the market. The center market is pretty much fished out now, with the Dolphins closing in on Jake Grove, and there wasn’t much at tackle to begin with (why do you think the Eagles gave a ridiculous sum to Stacy Andrews?)

If the Bengals can’t seal deals with Coles and Benson, they will be forced to rely on 2008 and 2009 draft picks to fill key holes in the offensive line and at offensive skill positions. Now I like Andre Caldwell and believe there are lots of good OTs and centers in the upcoming draft, but there are a few too many holes and not enough filling in free agency at this point for my tastes. Time to step it up.

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