Bengals Ink WR Laveranues Coles


Breaking. The deal is for four years, $28 million.

FWIW I like but don’t love this move. I’m a Laveranues Coles fan — to the point I think you can make the case he’s a better wideout than the recently departed T.J. Housmandzadeh. Just look at who each receiver had throwing to them. But I would have rather seen the money used to address bigger needs on the offensive line earlier in free agency.

To put it plainly, I would rather have spent $7 million a year on center Jason Brown versus Coles, even if it meant counting on Andre Caldwell or some low-rent vet like Mike Furrey to take T.J.’s place.

But that said, I can’t complain too loudly. I’m sure the Bengals will be bashed for the size of the deal, but that’s how free agency works: if you want to play on any level above bottom-feeder, you have to be willing to overpay. And with Coles having a reported $6 million per year offer from the Bills, trumping that was the only way to get him signed.

Instant reax: Kirk promises to bitch and moan later.

WDR shares my reservations but can’t get too upset.

Geoff Hobson gets to use the word “massive” in a sentence.

On NFL Live, former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards just said he thought Marvin Harrison would have been a better fit in Cincy. For me, that just confirms that Coles was the right choice.

James Walker paints the move as an admission Cincinnati erred in drafting Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell. That’s far too strong a conclusion. More likely the team is looking at its options regarding Chad Johnson and Chris Henry over this year and next. Johnson is rumored to be on the trading block, and Henry is entering the final year of the contract Mike Brown crammed down Marvin Lewis’ throat last summer. Bringing in Coles gives them the option to let Chad go if a fair offer emerges, and insurance if Henry blows up again.

Just to expand on an earlier point, here’s a look at the spearchuckers Coles has been (ahem) fortunate to have throwing to him: Vinny Testaverde, Ray Lucas, Chad Pennington, Patrick Ramsey, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunnell and, in last year’s farewell performance, Brett “the JUGS machine throw harder” Favre. Yet somehow, Coles has managed multiple 1,000+ yard seasons (once even with the mighty Ramsey/Hasselbeck duo behind center).

PFW’s Matt Wilkening gives his take:

"The signing of Coles is in line with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis’ desire for the offense to be more explosive next season. With QB Carson Palmer back under center and with Coles lining up opposite of Ocho Cinco, the Bengals potentially have a formidable passing game, especially if Ocho Cinco rebounds after a disappointing ’08 campaign."

The Enquirer’s Joe Reedy says Coles will be in town Thursday for the formal signing/announcement.

Draft impact: Just as the re-signing of Cedric Benson slashed the possibility of the Bengals taking a running back with the sixth overall pick, the Coles signing dramatically lowers the probability that Cincinnati spends its first rounder on a wide receiver. So, all those mocks that were just re-done yesterday (and yeah, I’m talking to you, Kirwan) giving the Bengals Michael Crabtree can be tossed out the window.

Carson Palmer helped make this one happen, lobbying both head coach Marvin Lewis and Coles himself:

"“I told him to just give us a chance,” Palmer said. “There’s so much negativity about (the Bengals) out there. We may not have a private plane or an indoor facility, but there is no other place you’d rather be when you’re winning, and when guys do come visit here they’re always surprised.”"

OK, regarding my comments about o-line over wideout: if Carson is cool with this, than so am I.

John Clayton has some insight from Coles into why he signed that warms the cockles of this Bengals fan’s heart:

"The Buffalo Bills were his first visit, but talks with the Bengals heated up over the weekend with the possibility of Houshmandzadeh leaving for the Seattle Seahawks. Coles visited the Bengals earlier this week but left without a contract.Houshmandzadeh suggested that Cincinnati wasn’t sincere about trying to keep him around. Coles got the opposite impression in his case.“The Bengals were very aggressive right from the start in talking to us,” Coles said, in a statement released by the team. “And when a team makes you feel really wanted, that’s a factor you’re not going to ignore. They said, ‘Let’s get this worked out,’ and we did.”"

Also reax from Marvin:

"“Clearly, Laveranues gives our passing game another proven weapon,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “He’s been durable and reliable, with high production in catches, yards, yards-per-catch and touchdowns. He’s also a passionate player, a guy who will bring a very positive chemistry to our locker room.”"

More reax: Whodeyfans offers a spelling suggestion. Works for me.

Bengals Stripes is sticking with old school though.