In September 2011, the Cincinnati Bengals picked up wide receiver and kick return specialist Brandon Tate off waivers after the New England Patriots waived him a few days prior. Immediately, Tate began to make an impact, scoring a touchdown on a 56-yard punt return against the Seattle Seahawks, and over the course of the past two seasons Tate has returned 72 attempts for 730 yards, an average of 10.1 yards attempt.
Yesterday evening, The Bengals received a visit to Paul Brown Stadium from none other than San Francisco 49ers kick return specialist, Ted Ginn Jr., a player who wasn’t able to have Tate’s success in finding a home on offense–managing only 211 receiving yards–but has a career total of almost 7,000 kick and punt return yards in six seasons, a figure almost unparallelled in the NFL currently.
At the moment, Tate is a free agent, so bringing Ginn in would make perfect sense as contract leverage if they are leaning towards holding onto Tate. If they are to sign Ginn, which is more likely, his speed and agility will be an asset to the Bengals in a way that Tate could not bring to the team. Signing Ginn to the team could also relieve Adam Jones from some of his duties, something that could be a factor in the decision to re-sign him this off-season.
It’s hard to see a downside to this situation, if it goes well, the Bengals have upgraded their special teams, if it doesn’t go well, Tate still has the speed to get the job done.
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