On Thursday, the San Diego Chargers announced that they released Takeo Spikes, making him a free agent. So if he follows through with his intention to play in 2013, it will have to be with another team.
That team should be the Cincinnati Bengals.
Spikes played his first five years in the league during the worst period of the Lost Decade. The team was 19-61 in his time here, so it is little wonder that the new, first-time head coach Marvin Lewis was unable to convince him to stay with the team. In those dark days, nearly anyone who could get out of Cincinnati did. It is ironic, then, that the Bengals have been to the playoffs four times since his departure, while Spikes has never made a playoff appearance despite being a very capable player.
I would love to see both Spikes and Mike Brown exorcise some bad karma and work out a deal to bring Spikes back to the franchise that drafted him. It would be a good thing for both parties.
Brown certain would not pay the $3M that the 15-year veteran was slated to earn in San Diego. But if Spikes would return for perhaps just north of half of that amount, the Bengals would add some solid depth at the outside LB position at a cheaper price than returning Thomas Howard. It is doubtful that Spikes would start, but he should still provide some valuable snaps. More importantly, he would bring an important veteran presence and work ethic as a mentor to a group with a lot of young players.
For Spikes, the move would bring his career full circle. But more importantly, it would put him on the roster of a team that has been to the playoffs in back-to-back years and with a legitimate chance to return again next year.
I don’t expect him to offer a “hometown” discount, he might accept a small “playoff potential” discount. The list of potential suitors for a veteran entering his 16th season is not going to be long, and doubly so for teams with a good shot to make the playoffs. So unless the Patriots give him a call, the Bengals ought to be able to get this deal done.
Let’s do it.