Do I want T.O.? Not particularly.
Does that mean I'll be upset if the Bengals signed him? Not exactly.
At this point, I'll take any receiver, especially one who can stretch the field a bit and take some of the heat off Ochocinco.
The numbers from last season in an abysmal Buffalo offense show that Owens can still play, even at age 36.
While Owens would certaily distract defenders (and probably his own teammates), my ideal choice for the Bengals was restricted free agent receiver Anquan Boldin. He, however, was dealt to the Ravens moments after I posted the first draft of this blog, leading me to decide Owens, under a one-year deal worth less than $5 million, would be a good fit.
The only other available player I really like is the recently-cut tight end Chris Baker, formerly with the New England Patriots. Though he's had just 35 catches in 32 games the last two seasons, Baker is capable of being a receiving threat (72 catches and seven touchdowns the previous two seasons). He can block for Cedric Benson, unlike Chicago trade bait Greg Olsen can do, and would come cheap.
There are other positions of need — backup quarterback, interior offensive line, linebacker depth, safety and kicker — but they can be addressed later on or through the draft.
Speaking of the draft, my mock won't be completed for another month, but the top two picks in my draft remain the same as they've been since late 2009:
Round 1 — Taylor Mays, Safety, USC
Round 2 — Mardy Gilyard, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati
Baker, maybe T.O., those top two draft picks, then other positions of need looked at (namely interior line and kicker) later in the draft would make for a fine offseason in my book. The rest of the team's energies should go to re-signing its own free agents (Bobbie Williams, Roy Williams, Reggie Kelly and maybe Tank Johnson) and extending some of the young talent (Kyle Cook, Jonathan Joseph, Leon Hall).
Because they are nice thoughts, there are three other names I also would like to see the Bengals at least take a look at.
Former Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby would come with a hefty price tag, but would be fantastic in Mike Zimmer's system. While Dhani Jones is a great leader in the middle of the defense, he doesn't have a lot of years left in him. Dansby, Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga would make a fantastic trio. The problem would be getting them all on the field in 2010.
The other two are former Bengals who are on the market once again: wide receiver Kevin Walter and kicker Neil Rackers.
Walter is not exactly what the Bengals are looking for, but again, any receiver would be an upgrade over where they currently stand. Rackers flourished after leaving Paul Brown Stadium to become a Cardinal and, with so many of us still sour on Shayne Graham, it's time for a change at kicker.
Those three, however, simply make for interesting stories and aren't likely to be in stripes next year.