Could one of these young wide outs have a break-out season and become a legitimate number two? Sure. And Owner Mike Brown might hire a General Manager this off-season. Playing the odds in this case isn’t the best way to plan. The Bengals can’t afford to target a receiver in the Draft that will jump ahead of their current corps without sacrificing other more important needs. The question shouldn’t be whether or not, but who the Bengals should be targeting in free agency.
Who indeed; the market this year is as wide as it has been in a while. Mario Manningham (New York Giants) is being vocally considered because of his productivity this past season and comfort as a number two, but coming off a Super Bowl, he will likely be pricy for the offered talent. Pierre Garson (Indianapolis) might be worth keeping an eye as an option, but the Colts probably won’t let him get away with Andrew Luck all but already on board. A deep sleeper and massive steal would be Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) who has been extremely productive despite consistent sub-par play from his quarterbacks. The Chiefs have the most cap space in the NFL and can’t afford to loss him, but the Bengals should seriously consider matching just about any offer – he may like his odds with Andy Dalton than with Matt Castle.
Of course, the best case scenario would be Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh), but there are several teams who would love to acquire his services if they become available. New England would love to get their hands on him, so would Washington, Arizona and, well, just about anyone. Remember though, Wallace is a Restricted Free Agent regardless, so his price tag may include draft picks. Nonetheless, cherry-picking from the Steelers is addition by subtraction in the AFC North. Insight into their players and coaches as well as throwing Big Ben further into a whirling vortex of mental instability is something that is very difficult to put a price tag on.