The Cincinnati Bengals have a decision to make at wide receiver this offseason on whether or not to keep Brandon LaFell.
The Cincinnati Bengals find themselves going into the 2018 season with a decision to make regarding their inventory of wide receivers. One of their biggest decisions to make is whether or not to keep wide receiver Brandon LaFell around for another year?
LaFell came to Cincinnati as a temporary band-aid after the release of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in 2016. His first year with the Bengals he was second in receptions (64) and yards (862). He also led the team in touchdowns hauling in 6. The success of 2016 brought a contract extension for two more years with the Bengals.
The 2017 season was not as rewarding as he only caught 52 passes for 548 yards. This was with star receiver A.J. Green being injured late in the season leaving LaFell with a more prominent role. Add that to the fact that the team went out and spent their 2017 first round pick at number 9 overall on wide receiver John Ross, it would seem that he is not in the future plans. Ross was hurt most of his rookie season but will return healthy and ready to get his career going in 2018.
With Ross likely to hold the number two receiver spot across from Green, it makes very little sense to keep LaFell around for the price he commands. In 2018, LaFell is set to make $4 million but can be cut leaving zero dead cap money. The Bengals can clear up $4 million in cap and use it somewhere else to plug glaring holes in the roster. It also gives them a chance to see what their younger receivers can bring to the table.
Even though that $4 million price tag is not steep, imagine wanting a top name playmaker who would cost more than that to bring to Cincinnati. Then deduct $4 million from the price that player is commanding and the price tag is looking pretty good to bring in a sure help for the Bengals offense in 2018. Maybe a guy like tight end Jimmy Graham and solving your tight end situation by cutting one player for another and allowing the young receivers to get those snaps in 2018.
The Bengals also spent a fourth-round pick on wide receiver Josh Malone in 2017. Other receivers that are young and have shown flashes are Tyler Boyd and Cody Core. Moving on from a receiver who is set to turn 32 in November and allowing these young receivers who the Bengals have invested so much in to take those snaps most likely in the slot position would be beneficial for the offense.