It was the easiest prediction in the world to make: The Bengals were going to be the big losers of the frenzied NFL free agency period.
On Thursday evening, cornerback Johnathan Joseph signed with the Houston Texans, who outbid the Bengals for his services. Joseph was the Bengals’ first-round draft pick in 2006 and is an excellent player when healthy.
Not only is Joseph skilled at playing the ball (14 interceptions in 5 years, including 6 in 2009 when he was a Pro Bowl alternate), he’s also effective in run support with his physical style of play.
This is inexcusable for a Bengals franchise that clearly has plenty of money to spend. And it’s going to be very interesting to see what the worst owner in all of professional sports, Mike Brown, does to reach the NFL’s new salary floor. (A rule that forces cheap-assed owners like Brown to spend more than they actually want to.)
Also, is Brown just going to pocket the $12 million that would have been owed to Carson Palmer this season, if he hadn’t taken his ball and ran home? Since Palmer won’t be paid that money, it shouldn’t count against the Bengals’ salary cap.
For all we know there could be a loophole in the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement that will allow Brown to use Palmer’s 2011 “salary” when factoring the Bengals’ overall cap number for this season. Hopefully that’s not true, because it would make a mockery of the whole “salary floor” aspect of the CBA.
As for Joseph, the Bengals could’ve kept their solid cornerback tandem (along with Leon Hall) in tact for several years. Instead, they will now spend years – and probably several draft picks – trying to find Joseph’s replacement. Once again, Mike Brown is pissing down the legs of Bengals fans and telling them it’s raining. But at least he’s doing so at the Bengals’ indoor practice facility. Oh wait.
The only good news out of this is the Bengals are now the clear early favorites in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Although, I liked the Andy Dalton pick a lot and think he’s going to be a very-effective NFL quarterback.
Well, it was fun (most of the time) but the Chad Johnson/Ochocinco era has finally come to an end in Cincinnati. Unlike the way I feel about Palmer, I’ve got nothing but love for Chad. Is he a complete clown? Yes. Did I want the Bengals to go in a new direction and now allow Chad to “mentor” first-round pick A.J. Green? Yes. Do bats say things to each other like “That Ochocinco is humanshit crazy”? Yes.
But Chad is also one of the most-talented wide receivers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. He made several unbelievable catches throughout his Bengals career and holds every important receiving record in team history. We’re talking 751 receptions, 10,783 yards and 66 touchdowns.
The Bengals dealt Ochocinco to the New England Patriots for two late-round draft picks (one in 2012 and one in 2013). And hopefully “late-round” means the fifth and not the seventh. And to think the Redskins offered a pair of first-rounders for Chad two years ago. But like he’s doing with Palmer, Brown’s stubbornness prevented him from making a move that would help the team, because he didn’t want to allow the player to “win.” Word is the Bengals could get at least a second-round pick in exchange for Palmer, but Brown is not going to budge.
See, as every Bengal fan knows, Brown is always willing to sacrifice winning for other, more-important things, such as his unbridled cheapness. In the Palmer case, he’s not being cheap, just stupid. (In the Joseph case, he was cheap and stupid, a hallmark of Mike Brown's career.) It’s always something disappointing when it comes to Brown. What a disaster of an owner he is in every way.