The Cincinnati Bengals should cut Brandon LaFell and sign Jordan Matthews in free agency.
The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the worst statistical offenses in yards per game in 2017. They need to make some substantial changes to get over the hump next year if they plan to be competitive in their division.
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell has been average, at best, complementing wide receiver A.J. Green with his time in Cincinnati. LaFell, 31, had one of his most unproductive seasons in his 8-year career with only 52 receptions for 548 yards and just 3 touchdowns. He is an average blocker and has never had the speed or athleticism to win on every route. This kind of production from the number two receiver is not enough for the team to succeed in 2018 and beyond.
This is why the Bengals have to consider a replacement. The options on the open market are dwindling and unaffordable for the Bengals with receivers John Brown to Baltimore Ravens, Allen Robinson to the Chicago Bears, Sammy Watkins to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The fans in Cincinnati know the Bengals rarely make a splash in free agency, enter, wide receiver Jordan Matthews. He will be the most affordable and potentially high reward solution for the Cincinnati Bengals. BleacherReport, NFL 1000 Scouts has Matthews ranked 3 spots higher than LaFell as a slot receiver.
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Second-year wide receiver John Ross is set to be the number two receiver across from Green in 2018. Ross is also coming off a season barely touching the field due to injury. It only makes sense to bring in Jordan Matthews to push the other unproven receivers. He is a productive and young receiver that could give quarterback Andy Dalton another fantastic option in 2018.
Matthews spent the majority of last year on IR for the Buffalo Bills, therefore, he could come at a bargain price. In his first three years in the NFL, Matthews was a nightmare matchup for defenses while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Matthews ripped defenses to the tune of 225 catches on 346 targets for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. There is more upside to Matthews at the prime age of 25 years old.
The 6’3″212-pound frame would be a younger and tougher slot receiver the Bengals desperately need to complement Green and tight end, Tyler Eifert, if he is re-signed. He is a better blocker, more physical at the top of his routes, and has great hands.
Matthews will be coming off two surgeries in 2017 and would be a risk-reward signing. The Cincinnati Bengals should offer Matthews a one year prove it deal. The team could strike it big with signing Jordan Matthews. If productive in 2018, the Bengals could have easily found the gem of free agency and then re-sign him in 2019 to a longer-term deal.