Who Dey Dish: Burfict suspension a PR stunt by NFL?

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Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Here’s some Bengals news to get you caught up on what’s going on this offseason, from A.J. Green debate to Vontaze Burfict’s suspension.

Rummaging through the internet to bring you latest news about the Cincinnati Bengals and the NFL so that you don’t have to do it – this is your Who Dey Dish for Tuesday, February 15.

A.J. Green: The NFL’s best wide receiver? (Stripe Hype)

"While he’s a forgotten man among the NFL’s premier wide receivers, A.J. Green is still one of the best pass-catchers in the business. Putting up 1,000+ yards receiving in each of his first five seasons, Green has proven to be one of the league’s most—if not the most—consistent and reliable pass-catchers.Green fell off the radar in 2014, missing several games due to injury yet still hauling in 69 passes for 1,041 yards and a career-low six touchdowns. Many people began to label him as injury-prone, yet he had (and still has) only missed one game from any season, outside of 2014.Only Green and Randy Moss have recorded five straight 1,000-yard seasons to open a career, and Green’s quarterback, Andy Dalton, is one of two quarterbacks—along with Peyton Manning—to open a career with five straight 3,000-yard passing seasons. Dalton’s success has largely been due to Green, who is a rare receiver who has been his team’s top receiving option from his rookie year on."

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green or Chad Johnson? (Stripe Hype)

"Before the infinite days of “Ochocinco,” Chad Johnson was arguably the best WR in the AFC. Johnson was a 6 time all pro, 4 time pro bowler, 3 time AFC receiving yards champion, and even in 2006 lead the league in receiving yards with 1,369 yards. Chad was also a part of two teams that won the AFC North in 2005 and 2009. But Chad only had one season of 10 touchdowns, 141 plays of 20+ yards and 40 plays of 40+ yards and that’s in a total of 11 seasons, 10 of which were in Cincinnati.Then we come to A.J. Green, the man who has already shown the amazing ability to dominate and begin the pace to break the Bengals Franchise WR Records."

Vontaze Burfict, Bengals should embrace the villain role (Stripe Hype)

"A heartbreaking Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers saw the media and fans labelling the Cincinnati Bengals as “a bunch of thugs,” “classless” and many other negative names, but embracing the villain role could be good for Cincinnati.Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones were the center of an anti-Bengals media firestorm, which has reignited opinions that the Bengals are classless, that Marvin Lewis has no control over his team and that Cincinnati takes chances on players who don’t deserve a chance at all.In all actuality, however, most NFL teams employ hothead players who can give their team a spark. Most notably, Dez Bryant, Philip Rivers, Ndamukong Suh, James Harrison, Brandon Marshall and Aqib Talib have all been incredibly effective despite the occasional on-field temper tantrum."

Kelvin Beachum and Justin Tucker among top AFC North free agents (CincyJungle)

"The Cincinnati Bengals have a well-documented list of players set to hit free agency. Some have used this list to suggest why the team won’t make the playoffs in 2016, while others debate whether Cincinnati will even be able to sign one of its top five players who will soon be free agents. But the Bengals are far from being the only AFC North team who will struggle locking up its own players.Several key players on opposing AFC North teams will hit free agency along with Marvin Jones, George Iloka, Reggie Nelson, Adam Jones, Andre Smith and others on the Bengals. While the Bengals’ overwhelming list of 15 players set to hit free agency seems long, the team actually has the least players of any AFC North team set to hit free agency."

Bengals Dream Offseason: Bringing back Iloka among biggest moves (CincyJungle)

"Cincinnati faces an uphill battle in the offseason, with 15 players hitting free agency and several holes to be filled on both sides of the ball. Imagine for a minute that all 15 free agents are no longer members of the Cincinnati Bengals. If this were so, the team would need to replace the rolls of two starting receivers, a starting linebacker (at least for the three games Vontaze Burfict will miss), two starting corners and two starting safeties. The team would also need to find a player to serve as its return specialist, as Mario Alford wasn’t given the chance in 2015 to show whether he can be trusted with those duties.The biggest issue facing the Bengals is whether or not the team should sign safety George Iloka to a long-term deal. Signing George Iloka would all but guarantee Marvin Jones’ departure and would likely be the more expensive re-signing, at least when comparing positional salaries around the league. But Cincinnati didn’t draft Iloka for a few good seasons. They selected him knowing that if they could help him develop, he could become an elite safety. And an elite safety is exactly what Iloka has become. While signing him to a long-term contract will come at the sacrifice of depth, it’s the smart move to make. Just take a look at the three most recent Super Bowl champions. The Broncos, Patriots and Seahawks all employ the same strategy: lock up the elite members of the team and find serviceable starters at less-important positions. If Iloka were to re-sign, the Bengals wouldn’t need to worry as much about corner play, as Iloka is one of the best coverage safeties in football and has been a security blanket against the deep pass."

Burfict suspension a bold, unprecedented PR stunt by the NFL (CincyJungle)

"It’s official. The NFL upheld its three-game suspension of Vontaze Burfict for repeatedly violating the league’s safety-related playing rules. NFL fans may think this suspension is warranted and that the upholding of the three-game ban is deserving, but this is an unprecedented move by the NFL.Roger Goodell’s sudden concern for player safety seems like yet another overreaction just a year after Deflate Gate garnered unnecessary media attention for far too long. The fact that New England lost their first-round pick in April’s draft is ridiculous enough; the suspension of a quarterback who the league didn’t have any concrete evidence on was even more ludicrous. You’d think Goodell learned from his mistakes, but he clearly hasn’t.Burfict has made dirty plays during his career, and a suspension for repeatedly violating player safety rules is perfectly reasonable. The timing and duration of the suspension, however, makes no sense. Burfict’s dirty hit on Maxx Williams in Week 17 absolutely warranted a suspension, and the right move for the NFL to make would be suspending him for the Bengals’ first-round playoff game. The suspension would’ve sent a stronger message, as the linebacker’s entire body of work in 2015 would’ve rendered meaningless with a playoff game he wouldn’t have been able to suit up for."

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