Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have brought on veteran quarterback Jason Campbell, it is a distinct possibility the team will pass on a rookie quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft.
That is, unless Marvin Lewis and staff go back to keeping three quarterbacks — especially if Georgia signal-caller Aaron Murray is still on the board in the mid-rounds.
It was no secret the Bengals were on the market for another quarterback. In Campbell, the Bengals get a veteran who can step in and win games consistently should Andy Dalton go down with an injury. Lewis concurs, via Lance McAlister:
Marvin Jason Campbell: “He can play and win games for you if you need him. #Bengals
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) March 20, 2014
It’s painfully obvious the Bengals are intent on sticking with Dalton for at least one more season, so a veteran backup to help mentor him makes too much sense. To be fair to Dalton, he didn’t exactly have that sort of presence last season with Josh Johnson behind him.
But the addition of a rookie this year is still a safe bet. Cincinnati needs an insurance policy on the chance Dalton does not take the proverbial next step. The logical fit is Murray, who hails from the Lewis’ favorite collegiate pipeline, Georgia.
Murray is on the mend after shredding his knee, which makes it even more likely he may end up with the Bengals if he takes a fall on draft day. The team is not in the market for someone to push Dalton’s starting gig this year, so he can heal while learning the intricacies of the pro game.
For what it’s worth, the team has a reported interest and Murray himself has said he’d love another shot at tossing the ball to A.J. Green:
“I’ll play anywhere, but the chance to get to play with A.J. (Green) again would be incredible,” Murray said, according to daytondailynews.com. “He’s an unbelievable receiver and one of the best in the NFL. We had a good relationship and chemistry in college, so it would be nice to hook up with him again.”
Murray may get that wish. Campbell fits the teams needs in the short term, but the front office does still have its eyes on the future. That future may be a quarterback competition between Dalton and Murray.