Hobson's Choice: Having a fit?

Do you think Marvin Lewis will pursue the recently released Peter Boulware. It seems to me that Lewis is always interested in his former players in free agency. He's coming off an injury and probably won't cost a whole lot. Also, with a deep but young linebacking crew, wouldn't it be nice to add a seasoned veterin who has the ability to play defensive end?
Joe, Lexington KY JOE:
I could see it happening, but not right now. Yes, this transplanted Pro Bowl sacker at outside linebacker would be the perfect mentor for an All-American defensive end. Yet Lewis is trotting out his stock no answer answer on free agency: "I will always try to see if the right party fits," Lewis told his friends at The Baltimore Sun Wednesday night. Economics, scheme, and personnel indicate it isn't at the moment.

Boulware would seem to be in line to get some good coin, or at least he thinks he is since he reportedly turned down a $2 million deal with $2 million more in incentives to stay in Baltimore this year. Like Jamie Sharper, he could get $4 million this year in salary and bonus. If the Bengals paid close to that, they'd have to cut somebody and play him regularly to justify it.

Keep in mind that releasing middle linebacker Nate Webster before June 1 doesn't save any money in a $1.5 million push. So who do you cut if you don't jump the gun on Peter Warrick? And who do you sit?

You've got a No. 1 pick invested in one outside backer (David Pollack) and the other outside backer is another big money guy in Brian Simmons. The next step is to make Boulware a situational pass rusher at end, but you can't bench Robert Geathers (not a sky's-the-limit-22-year-old) and what do you do with another big money guy in Justin Smith that did have eight sacks last season, and is a three-down guy?

Plus, Boulware has had his best days in a 3-4 look, and while the Bengals are going to play some of that, the 4-3 is going to be their base defense.

I'd love to have the guy. He's a proven pass rusher with at least seven sacks in all of his seven seasons, but it just doesn't seem like it would be a fit. Maybe if he hung around on the market, but don't expect that with the Browns coveting him. They'll pay him and play him in his 3-4.

It's a great ideal until you start trying to figure it out. You'd almost wish that, instead, they'd look at a proven run-stuffing tackle like Keith Traylor. But indications are they are turned off by his 36 years of age when the season starts.

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