The Cincinnati Bengals drafted two wide receivers this weekend as well as a tight end who can split out in the slot. With the return of a healthy Jordan Shipley, the Bengals look to have one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. One thing is missing, however: experience.
The Bengals didn't get any of the experienced receivers on the free agent market. That leaves Brandon Tate, primarily a return man, as their most experienced receiver with all of three years of NFL experience.
The Washington Redskins released their most productive wide receiver of 2011, Jabar Gaffney. It might make sense for the Bengals to make a run at signing Gaffney even with their already crowded stable of receivers.
Gaffney posted career best numbers last season with the Redskins in catches (68), yards (947) and touchdowns (5). The Florida product produced those numbers despite a muddled Redskins quarterback situation with John Beck and Rex Grossman.
What would Gaffney bring to the Bengals? Experience and leadership. Even with AJ Green's breakout rookie performance, he has lacked the kind of veteran presence that can help elevate his game to the next level. With 10 seasons under his belt and having played alongside Andre Johnson in Houston, Randy Moss and Wes Welker in New England and Brandon Marshall in Denver, what Green might garner from Gaffney's experience is worth interest from the Bengals.
Green isn't the only youngster who could benefit though. Shipley has only a season plus two games under his belt and Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones join the team as rookies. Gaffney could be invaluable in their seasoning as well.
Cincinnati remains well under the salary cap and has seen first hand the benefits of veteran leadership on younger players at other positions. Dhani Jones' presence at linebacker helped Rey Maualuga and Nate Clements addition to the secondary last year helped there as well.
Why the Redskins cut Gaffney is a mystery perhaps only mercurial owner Daniel Snyder can answer. The Bengals should make their loss the gain of the young receivers in stripes.
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