Updated: 3-16-08, 12:20 a.m.
Wide receiver Tab Perry agreed to a one-year deal Saturday night in Miami while the Bengals appear ready to add more depth to their linebacker corps with another Cardinal in Brandon Johnson.
Jason Chayut, Johnson's agent, indicated Saturday his client could sign as soon as early next week. Johnson, 24, a fifth-rounder out of Louisville in '06, played in nine games in two seasons in Arizona before becoming a free agent. He had two tackles in six games last year.
He would join teammate Darryl Blackstock, signed to the backer corps Friday. The Bengals are thought to be monitoring Takeo Spikes' travels through the NFL, but they haven't shown an inclination to sign 10-year veterans during this free agency period.
Agent Peter Schaffer indicated Saturday night that Perry signed for about the $927,000 the Bengals chose not to tender him as a restricted free agent two weeks ago. If the Bengals did that, they would have received a sixth-round pick (where they took Perry in the 2005 draft) if they chose not match an offer.
But the Bengals were interested in re-signing Perry, obviously at a lower price and probably with protection against the hip that put Perry on injured reserve for the last two seasons and limited him to just four games.
Schaffer wouldn't talk about the Bengals offer, but did say he talked to both Bengals vice president Paul Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis on Saturday.
"Tab relishes the opportunity in Miami and is grateful for the chance in Cincinnati," Schaffer said. "And who knows what happens down the road?"
His hip injury is one of the grimmer moments in Bengals history. It came in the last minute of a blowout victory over Cleveland Sept. 17, 2006 on a kickoff that stopped short of the goal line and altered what looked to be a career on the fast track.
As a rookie, Perry set the club single-season records for kick returns and yardage, including the 94-yarder in Pittsburgh during the Bengals 38-31 victory in what amounted to the AFC North championship game.
At 6-3, 218 pounds he also displayed intriguing versatility, lining up as an H-back and tight end at times as well as a wide receiver. But he ended up with just 10 career catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
The Bengals apparently weren't ready to gamble on the hip giving him more problems. Even if they re-signed Perry, they figure to go after a wide receiver who can also return kicks and punts at some point in the draft and maybe early.
Wide receiver is no longer the deepest position on the team. After the top three of Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry, there is a total of 40 Bengals catches and two touchdowns among the remaining wide receivers. A look at the wideouts:
Chad Johnson, eighth season: Yes, the Bengals all-time receiver and five-time Pro Bowler is contracted through 2011 and is in the club's long-term plans.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, eighth season: The team's '07 MVP when he became the first Bengal to lead the NFL in catches. Heading into the last year of a deal that figures to get re-done.
Chris Henry, fourth season: Always a question mark. Never really bounced back from an eight-game suspension that opened last season. He came into last year with 15 of his 67 catches going for TDs but had just two of 21 last year.
Glenn Holt, third season: Tough, resourceful guy out of Kentucky that made the team in 2006 in a rookie camp tryout. Took over Perry's kick return duties and has been productive with a 24.4-yard average on 76 returns the past two seasons with a 100-yard TD. But his three fumbles this past season has the team looking. Still, he took some hellacious shots last season and got back up to make some big catches. Has 17 career catches and a touchdown.
Antonio Chatman, sixth season: In his two Bengals seasons he's fought groin and hamstring problems but he should be fully healthy in '08. Not a huge target at 5-8, 180, but the Bengals feel Chatman can bring them another dimension with his speed in the slot and at punt return.
Marcus Maxwell, third season: Head coach Marvin Lewis kept praising him once the team activated him from the practice squad Oct. 26. He had just one catch in five games, but the club likes his size (6-4, 205) and speed. A seventh-round pick out of Oregon by the 49ers in 2005, Maxwell was a star in 2006 NFL Europe, where he caught nine touchdowns.