1. Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins
Because the Bengals seem to prefer tall receivers on the outside, Rishard Matthews could be a good fit. Matthews excelled on the outside in Miami, hauling in 43 passes for 662 yards and four touchdowns in 2015.
The Miami Dolphins signed Greg Jennings and traded for Kenny Stills prior to the 2015 season. Along with drafting Jarvis Landry in 2014 and DeVante Parker in 2015, Miami put itself in a predicament, allocating a lot of money to wide receivers, some of whom wouldn’t get snaps to warrant high salaries. One thing was very clear before 2015: one of these receivers wouldn’t get the snaps he deserves. Before the year began, Rishard Matthews looked like the odd man out. And he was, in a sense.
Matthews continually pleaded for more snaps throughout 2015, and rightfully so. The wideout put up some nice numbers and, for a while, was Ryan Tannehill‘s most reliable target out wide. Despite Miami’s huge wide receiver haul in 2015, Matthews somehow outplayed all of the guys who were supposed to push him down the depth chart, similarly to how Russell Wilson outplayed Matt Flynn despite the Seahawks paying the latter huge money prior to the 2012 season.
In coming to Cincinnati, Rishard Matthews would absolutely know that he’s going to get the snaps he deserves if he proves reliable as a receiver. He’s best suited as a number two, and alongside A.J. Green, he would be just that. Matthews wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over Jones, but he wouldn’t really be a step down, either.
Rishard Matthews isn’t a huge deep threat on the outside, so the Bengals would definitely have to find a slot receiver who can make plays downfield. But if the Bengals could help Mohamed Sanu or Mario Alford progress as downfield playmakers, Cincinnati’s receiving corps could actually improve despite losing Marvin Jones.
Matthews will likely be the most expensive of these five options, but there’s a chance he could take a smaller deal in Cincinnati with the prospects of catching passes from a franchise quarterback alongside A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. The only concerning factor would be whether Matthews would be able to deal with being the third option in Cincinnati’s passing game.
Next: 2. Rueben Randle