The Cincinnati Bengals have mostly avoided players from other teams in this offseason’s free agency period, concentrating on their own players instead. Last season, the team went out and acquired a few guys to contribute, and in some cases start, but this year, even though they did have a few in for visits, they have stayed away, even at positions of seemingly dire need, like linebacker and safety. Strangely enough, the lone exception to Cincinnati’s philosophy has been at quarterback.
After losing Bruce Gradkowski, it wasn’t at all surprising that the Bengals signed a new backup. Josh Johnson was signed and other than a few discussions about what he brings, fans didn’t over-think it. He’s young and could add another dimension to the offense with his legs. It was believed that the Bengals could still add another QB through the draft to compete with Johnson for the number two spot, or maybe as a developmental player who learns from the practice squad. Things got a little more crowded this week with the addition of ex-Arizona Cardinal John Skelton. Skelton is a former late-round pick who gained some fame in 2011, when he stepped in as an injury replacement and went 5-2 as a starter. He likely has the inside track on the backup job, but will have to beat out Johnson.
These signings, especially if combined with another QB being added via the draft, could beg the question: Are the Bengals worried about Andy Dalton? Dalton has been under fire from fans and the media for his performance, and lack of improvement in certain areas. His deep ball accuracy, and tendency to take unnecessary sacks hampered the offense, and frustrated fans. Dalton would appear to be safe, and the addition of Skelton and Johnson shouldn’t be seen as the team threatening his job. In all likelihood, it’s a case of bringing in plenty of competition for the number two QB job. However, if the Bengals draft a QB, and Dalton fails to improve in year three, the talk of his spot being up for grabs will heat up.