ESPN's John Clayton reports this morning that the Bengals are targeting a quarterback in free agency, specifically either Oakland's Bruce Gradkowski or Jim Sorgi of Indianapolis. This move makes sense for the Bengals with Carson Palmer in "retirement" and the prospect of rookie Andy Dalton being the starter.
"I expect the Bengals to come to some sort of agreement, verbal or otherwise, with either Jim Sorgi or Bruce Gradkowski. They've targeted these two veterans and even though they can't officially sign them until later in the week, I think they'll make an initial agreement for one of them to sign when they can." -John Clayton
Gradkowski is at least tangetially connected to the Bengals, having played in Tampa Bay under offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's brother, Jon. He brings experience as an NFL starting quarterback which would make him a valuable tutor and understudy to the rookie Dalton.
Sorgi has spent his career in Indianapolis behind Peyton Manning. His only appearances have been in mop-up duties or at the end of the season when the Colts were resting Manning. Still, seven seasons spent working with Manning and the Indianapolis offense, not to mention two Super Bowl appearances, would be the kind of valuable experience the Bengals are looking for with this young offense.
From a player relations standpoint, neither quarterback would be viewed as an immediate "threat" to a developing Dalton, but could give the Bengals ample talent behind him in the event of injury. And just in case Carson Palmer would reconsider, I doubt he'd be dissuaded from returning to Cincinnati by either quarterback.
Tags: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, Jay Gruden, NFL