While the Cincinnati Bengals have a need to address at cornerback this offseason, the quantity and caliber of players out there don't necessarily fit the bill for the team to upgrade that position. Last year's off season saw some high quality "shutdown" corners on the market, like Nnamdi Asomugha and Johnathan Joseph. This year's pickings at the top are fairly limited.
With former Raider Stanford Routt visiting the team today, it's time to consider how the Bengals might address that spot. Bengals 101 is already on record with Routt. He is not the solution for a unit whose best player, Leon Hall, is coming off an Achilles' injury, and is aging on the other side with Nate Clements. Additionally, Adam Jones and Kelly Jennings, both of whom played significantly last season are free agents themselves. That leaves Brandon Ghee as the only remaining corner with game experience.
Of the premiere cornerbacks on the free agent list, most, like Atlanta's Brent Grimes and Kansas City's Brandon Carr, figure to be either re-signed or franchised by their current team. There are a few that are certainly worth a look for Cincinnati, however, assuming they end up on the market.
Cortand Finnegan: Finnegan brings some "attitude" to the position. He's a physical cover corner who plays the run extremely well and would be a great fit in Mike Zimmer's scheme. He and the Titans have not been on particularly good terms personally. It may be time for a change of scenery for the veteran.
Terrell Thomas: Thomas was a starter for the Giants heading into 2011. Then he tore his ACL and was lost for the season. That enabled some other players to show their value in the Giants' Super Bowl run. It could be that the Giants would be unwilling to re-sign Thomas given they now have some quality depth at the position. If healthy, he too provides a physical corner, something the Bengals are lacking in the rough and tumble AFC North. He would be worth a look.
William Gay: Gay also fits the bill as a physical run-stopping corner and carries the added benefit of the Bengals being able to rob a divisional rival. Bengal fans know too well Gay's presence as he picked off Andy Dalton as drove the team toward a possible game-tying score in their first meeting last season at PBS.
Other than those three, there aren't any significant upgrades from either Jones or Jennings on the market. If the Bengals can't grab one of the above-mentioned players, they would be wise to focus on re-signing their own players and utilize one or more of their draft picks to address the position.
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