With Jerome Simpson's NFL future in question after his Jan. 19 indictment on marijuana trafficking charges, the Bengals' need to add to their WR corps becomes all the more clear. Simpson is an unrestricted free agent, so his return to Cincinnati wasn't assured even in the best of circumstances. Moreover, Simpson was inconsistent in his first full season as a starter. Reserve Andre Caldwell also will be a free agent. In addition to the prospect of a prison sentence of 1-5 years, Simpson also would face NFL discipline in connection with a finding of guilt or a guilty plea.
The Bengals have had their share of strong starting WR combinations over the years, with the Chad Ochocinco-T.J. Houshmandzadeh pairing the most recent one-two punch with some staying power. If Simpson isn't back, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals replace him. While A.J. Green is the unquestioned go-to guy, the club surely could use a complementary receiver that the opposition must respect.