After an exodus of secondary receivers in free agency, the Bengals may find themselves relying on veteran wideout Brandon LaFell to help bolster the passing attack in 2016. That’s sort of problematic, because, one, it’s Brandon LaFell. But also because the seventh-year veteran is currently dealing with a hand injury.
Fortunately(?) for quarterback Andy Dalton, LaFell shouldn’t miss any time once the regular season rolls around in September. While Marvin Lewis said it was unlikely the receiver will suit up for the Bengals’ preseason game on Thursday, the head coach’s answer was a simple, “No,” when asked if LaFell could be out for any of the regular season, according to Coley Harvey for ESPN.com.
LaFell could wind up missing the entire preseason, particularly if he opts to have surgery to repair a torn ligament in the hand. However, Lewis seems unconcerned about the potential for the recovery to linger into the season.
With receivers Marvin Lewis and Mohamed Sanu bolting for bigger paydays elsewhere, the Bengals signed LaFell, formerly of the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, as a potential replacement. He’s competing with holdover Brandon Tate and second-round rookie Tyler Boyd out of Pitt for a role as the No. 2 receiver in Cincinnati’s offense.
Only once has LaFell eclipsed 700 yards receiving in a season, and that was in 2014 with the Patriots. A former third-round draft pick, LaFell is a serviceable target with good size and athleticism, but a tad uninspiring. Of course, extended time off the field could certainly result in Tate or Boyd gaining ground and eating into his role.