You would be hard pressed to find a more disappointing team than the 2010 Cincinnati Bengals. One season removed from a division championship and the “coach of the year” award, Marvin Lewis‘s future in Cincinnati appears to be all but over. With the Lewis out of the picture, big name players like Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Cedric Benson and Terrell Owens could all end up on new teams for the start of the 2011 season.
Carson Palmer is due to make a staggering $11.5 million dollars next season despite what has been a truly disappointing year for the Bengals offense. ESPN.com’s James Walker reported that Palmer isn’t likely to take a pay cut which may force the Bengals to consider moving on without him. While this remains a possibility it would be surprising to see the Bengals completely re-haul their roster without any alternative options at quarterback in place.
Chad Ochocinco has a $6 million club option which isn’t all that much for a receiver who has a chance to go over the 1000 yard mark for the eighth time in the last nine years. Despite Ochocinco’s consistent production, some have suggested that his explosive ability has diminished over the last two seasons which puts his future production in question. If the Bengals are looking to move in a different direction, there would be no better way of changing the teams attitude than moving on from Ochocinco.
Cedric Benson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and will likely command one of the largest contracts of any free agent player. Benson has resurrected his career in Cincinnati and has proven that he can be a featured back in the NFL despite his early struggles in Chicago. The Bengals have Bernard Scott as their backup running back but they would have to bring another option if they end up losing Benson.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Bengals do not plan on re-signing Terrell Owens this offseason. Owens was placed on IR today after he suffered a torn meniscus during Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Despite being 37, Owens has proven that he can still produce if given the opportunity. The bad news for him is that his injury will likely force him to accept another incentive laden contract during the offseason.
At least the Bengals are in a good position to wrap up a top five draft pick.