The Bengals were so bad last season and so dysfunctional that it was reported head coach Marvin Lewis was not interested in returning for the 2011 season. However after some long meetings with ownership Lewis agreed, reluctantly, to return and give it another shot.
Quarterback Carson Palmer must have not been in those meeting as he is threatening to retire if not released or traded from the team.
If Palmer’s desire not to return to the team wasn’t enough the futures of top wideouts Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocincoarealso in question as no one is quite sure if they will attempt to resign both, one, or even none.
The likely hood is high that the 2011 Bengals may be absent of all three of these key starters. That would mean the Bengals would be handcuffed in the draft to try and offset their loss by taking a young quarterback or top wide receiver.
Running back’s Cedric Benson and Brian Leonard are both set to become free agents this off-season and while there is a chance they will try and resign Benson, Leonard is likely not to return to the team.
Last season the Bengals were ranked 27th in rushing offense so an upgrade is needed, and Thomas could represent just that at the right price. It’s likely that Thomas could unseat Benson as the primary back but their pairing could turn out to be extremely productive for Cincinnati.
An emergence of a true ground game would also take pressure of the passing game and who ever the quarterback will be next season, that would fair well for the Bengals if they are starting a rookie instead of Palmer.