I realize that most of us wanted J-Joe back, but in reality, is this really the devastating hit to the defense everyone is making it out to be?
I’m not so sure.
As much as I would have loved to see him back, it’s likely more important to the team that Leon Hall be secured long term. Hall is more dependable in coverage and less injury-prone (not to mention slightly younger). Hall is a tactician that can be counted on to be in the right place at all times, and consistently grades out better than Joseph.
My impression of Joseph has been that he’s had too many foot ailments, and on the field he is less disciplined and more mistake-prone than Hall. Plus there’s that marijuana arrest and suspension from 2008.
Of course it would be best to keep them both, but if the reality is that the Bengals probably couldn’t have both, especially knowing what the Texans gave Joseph (48.75 million over 5 years). This being the case, Hall’s the one I’d keep.
Looking at the depth the team has at DB, there’s still Adam Jones, who is cleared to practice as a clearly able replacement. The issues with him of course being that he is coming off a serious neck injury, and may face league suspensions for his most recent altercation with Cincinnati’s finest.
After Jones, the Bengals have Morgan Trent, Hall’s former teammate who has starting experience, 2nd-year player Brandon Ghee, journeymen Fred Bennett and Jonathan Wade, plus rookie Korey Lindsey.
The team could also now pursue other options on the market, like Nate Clements, Antonio Cromartie, Carlos Rogers, and Richard Marshall.
Call me crazy, but I think if Adam Jones, Morgan Trent, Jonathan Wade and Brandon Ghee are healthy, the team will be okay, especially if they add at least one corner from the market.
The Bengals need to focus their attention at running back anyway, especially now that one of their targets, Brandon Jackson, has signed with the Browns.