The Cincinnati Bengals have signed another veteran to fill a key role on their squad. A day after signing Karlos Dansby to a one-year deal, the Bengals agreed to terms with former New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell. LaFell will add to the team’s depth at the position and should be a decent replacement for the talent that they lost in free agency.
LaFell has been a decent No. 2 receiver for most of his career. In the past couple of seasons for the Patriots, LaFell caught 111 passes and 7 touchdowns, but he struggled this past season due to a lingering foot issue. The Patriots decided that he was not worth the price they were paying, so that is why he hit the free agent market.
No team had really showed much interest in LaFell until the Bengals came around. Still, it makes sense that the team would be interested in him, given that they had already lost a couple of depth receivers to free agency. Mohammad Sanu and Marvin Jones both got lucrative deals to sign elsewhere, and LaFell should at least be a capable replacement for the latter. He is certainly an upgrade over Brandon Tate, whose best value is on special teams.
Provided that the Bengals did not overpay for LaFell, this will likely be a good deal. LaFell can be the team’s second or third receiver, but he will not prevent the team from adding talent in the draft. In fact, the Bengals will probably be best suited to draft a receiver in the first couple of rounds. Josh Doctson out of TCU or Will Fuller out of Notre Dame will almost certainly garner consideration with the team’s first overall pick.
Regardless of what the Bengals plan on doing, the LaFell signing can only help him. At the worst, he will have a minimal impact on the team before being cut. At the best, he will develop into a solid possession receiver for Andy Dalton to work with. This deal has a high probability of success for the Bengals, so I really like the move.