There’s a lot of reasons to like Jerome Simpson (great personality, strong work ethic, incredible athleticism), but there’s a few negatives to this rising 5th year wide receiver out of Coastal Carolina. He’s been involved in a yet-to-be-resolved drug bust at his Cincinnati home, an incident that may come back to bite him this offseason if he is found guilty of any charges. On the field, he’s been a bit of an unreliable receiver for Andy Dalton.
That unreliability comes from his large number of drops and inconsistency in route running. His drop percentage actually rates among the very bottom of NFL wide receivers. Simpson has dropped 9 of 59 catchable balls (deemed by the wonderful men at ProFootballFocus.com), which is good for a drop percentage ranked 80th out of 91 NFL receivers with significant playing time.
Here is the “Bottom 20″ list for your eyes to feast on, from this ProFootballFocus.com article.
|81||Roy E. Williams||CHI||44||37||7||15.91|
What’s deemed a ‘catchable’ ball by PFF is unknown to me, but I think Bengals fans all remember more than a few Jerome Simpson drops this season. From my own film study and my trust of PFF, I think 9 drops is an accurate number.
If Jerome is to return as the Bengals #2 receiver next year, he must work on consistency in his routes and being focused when the ball is in the air. I love the guy, and a lot of fans do too (mostly because of that flip), but that doesn’t negate his inconsistent performance on the field.
Jerome’s 4-year rookie contract is up now, so the Bengals must make a decide how high Simpson’s value is as the Bengals second receiver. He may be offered more money from another team, or the Bengals may not give him a contract offer anyway.
The team can always look for solutions in the draft, like Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, but that would make for possibly the youngest receiving corps in the NFL.
In free agency, there are a few big names out there, but history shows that the Bengals probably won’t pursue a big-name WR1. And this player will be playing WR2 for the Bengals, which makes a big-name signing ever more unlikely. The Saints’ Robert Meachem as well as the Colts’ Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are my favorite wide receivers in free agency this year, though they may be hard to pry away from their former teams.
Who knows though, the Bengals have a reported league-high $40 million in cap space this year. If Mike Brown sees the guy that he wants, he might just be willing to shell out some serious cash.