The Terrell Owens shoe finally dropped Tuesday when the star (and star-crossed) wideout signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Bengals. Below are some thoughts on the move, both on the field and from a fantasy football perspective. You can see how this signing compares to others this month in a post later this week.
After a quiet year in Buffalo, T.O. had trouble finding a new job. But the Bengals finally stepped up just before training camp opened with a one-year, $2 million offer. It’s a massive pay cut for Owens, although that’s not unusual for NFL players at age 36. But it is a decent situation for Owens. He’ll have a better shot at playing time and targets than he would have with the Jets, another rumored suitor, and he’ll win more games than he would have as a Ram, which was another potential landing spot. Owens will be the possession receiver across from Chad Ochocinco, who had a renaissance year last season and still has some mid- and long-range ability. And Owens is probably good enough to beat out free-agent signee Antonio Bryant, who is plagued by a knee injury and could land on the physically unable to perform list. The trick will be spreading out the ball enough to keep Owens and Ochocinco, two star-sized egos, happy. But quarterback Carson Palmer pushed for Owens to come to town, and he knows enough stories to realize all that entails. The Bengals are a contender, and this addition helps their stock. They’re taking big risks in terms of character in their effort to win with players with locker-room issues as well as off-field issues (T.O. is exclusively in the former category), but it worked last year, and so they’re going all in with the strategy again.
From a fantasy football perspective, Owens’ arrival dampens the stock of Ochocinco and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham, who we were bullish on just last week. Ochocinco is still a No. 2 fantasy receiver, but Gresham is now draftable only in mega-sized leagues. The Owens signing also is a big statement about Bryant’s role on the team, which means our endorsement of Bryant as a potential top-35 receiver no longer applies. Owens’ arrival isn’t enough for us to promote Carson Palmer’s stock into the top 15 at quarterback.