Bengals broke their mold, and the bank
When the Bengals have spent money in the past, it was on their own guys.
So it’s reasonable if you were surprised by yesterday’s binge, in which they doled out a combined $95 million worth of contracts to D.J. Reader and Trae Waynes.
As noted by Paul Dehner of TheAthletic.com, it was the biggest splurge on outside free agents since 2010, when the Bengals gave an ill-fated four-year deal worth a reported $28 million to wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who never caught a pass for them.
Signing Reader, the former Texans nose tackle, to a four-year, $53 million deal was the eye-opener, setting the market for run-stoppers.
Their hope is that he stabilizes the middle of a bad defense, and provides a boost to Geno Atkins.
There’s reason to be more skeptical about the addition of Waynes on a three-year, $42 million deal, and it was certainly out of character. The Bengals have traditionally found their corners in the first round of the draft and tried to keep them around.
But as they try to rebound from last year’s 2-14 record, and convince people they’re serious about winning, it may take overspending to prove the point.