Hobson's Choice: Can't dis Warrick

If Chris Henry ends up showing the Chad Johnson-like talent he's believed to possess, would this ultimately mean the end of Peter Warrick's tenure with the team? Also, if the team is looking to get rid of him, would they look for a trade for maybe a run-stopping safety or just release him and save the cash? I am a big Peter Warrick fan, and would hate to see him leave, but it would be better for both Warrick and the Bengals if they parted ways (given that Henry or Kelley Washington pulls through). Thanks for your time.

* Ryan from Enon, Ohio RYAN:*
Because there are so many "ifs" ranging from Chris Henry to Kelley Washington to Peter Warrick, there is just no answer. Yet. Its best just to assume this thing has to play out and it could play out any number of ways. But from what can be gathered, indications are they would prefer not to put Warrick on a train out of here via a release, trade or anything else.

They want him and his $2.2 million salary to stay. That is, they want the 2003-70-catch-punt-return-highlight-threat Warrick. If it is the hobbled, injured and slower Warrick of 2004, now we're talking about something else. It will be interesting to see how ready Warrick is at the first voluntary camp May 17-19 because he certainly isn't talking about it.

If things don't go well, maybe they would approach him about re-doing his deal at a lower rate since he's headed into the last year of his contract. But can you see a Drew Rosenhaus client doing that? Rosenhaus, excellent agent that he is, would exhaust all possibilities before that.

A trade would be extremely difficult. You just can't deal a guy so easily coming off an injury, or a guy with a big salary on a one-year deal. Both make it impossible. At the very best, you'd get a late second day pick if he only agreed to re-do his deal. And, if you ask teams about a trade, they obviously know you're thinking about cutting him and would probably wait for you to do that. He'd have to look good in the preseason or pass a battery of physical exams for the other club in order for that to happen.

But if Warrick is a question mark, so are the other guys. To me, it looks like Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and rookies Chris Henry and Tab Perry are on the club. That leaves two more spots. But you can't count on Henry and Perry being factors right away.

Carl Pickens caught 26 balls and a touchdown as a rookie. Houshmandzadeh caught 21 and no TDs his first year. Johnson just went 28 for one as a rookie. OK, Darnay Scott caught 46 and five TDs, but that isn't the norm. In the last 15 seasons, only five rookie receivers have had 1,000-yard seasons.

That's why I don't think you can just shove aside Warrick this year. They are going to need some kind of proven veteran out there besides Johnson and Houshmandzadeh. You only have to look at Washington. He was supposed to be the steal of the 2003 draft, but he has struggled to become more consistent. He may eventually get there, but it has taken him time even though he's a wonderful athlete. You have to figure Henry and Perry are going to have their ups-and-downs early, too.

They would be best served by a happy, healthy, rehabbed Warrick.

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