Visits point to backup DE; Back debate


Derrick Harvey

The Bengals are apparently visiting the idea of signing a defensive end that can take snaps in their line rotation and seem to be mulling two top 10 picks trying to revive their careers.

On Monday the club confirmed the visit of Derrick Harvey, the eighth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft that the Jaguars traded up ahead of the Bengals at No. 9 to get. On Friday the Bengals checked out Jamaal Anderson, the eighth pick in the 2007 draft by the Falcons.

Both are coming off their second teams. Harvey has eight career sacks, but none in his first season with Denver last year, when he only took 92 snaps, according to profootballfocus.com. Anderson had a career year with the Colts last season, when he had three of his 7.5 career sacks.

The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt tweeted Monday night that Anderson is going to visit the Titans.

Also in town Monday were Texans tight end Joel Dreessen and Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, but the real attraction was Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He's setting up what has been reported as Raiders running back Michael Bush's visit on Tuesday.

The back situation is making for some good debate. Bush, 27, and Green-Ellis, 26, are solid, productive guys who are younger than the 29-year-old Cedric Benson now being used in the past tense in Bengaldom.

One of the things that has Benson on the outs is last season's 3.9 yards per carry average. The Bengals are looking for some home-runs, some big plays that Benson rarely gave them with only four runs of at least 20 yards.

But Green-Ellis didn't have a run longer than 18 yards last season while Bush had five of at least 20, and both had averages less than Benson at 3.7 and 3.8, respectively.

So would the Bengals be better off drafting one to team with Bernard Scott and his career 4.6 average that dipped to 4.0 after last season?

Yet one of the compelling arguments for signing a veteran back to team with a rookie and Scott is the insurance it provides at the most vulnerable of positions. Plus, Bush is a versatile guy and local favorite that can catch passes out of the backfield and Green-Ellis would be a welcome addition to the AFC North with his zero fumbles.

It remains to be seen if the Bengals want to get into a bidding war with the Pats with Green-Ellis suggesting he'll give New England a chance to re-sign him.

Although the Bengals hosted Dreessen, it's believed they are still talking to last year's backup tight end Donald Lee. The tweets are saying Dreessen is heading to visit the Titans after getting into Cincinnati via New Orleans.

And even though Newman visited Monday, the Bengals would probably like to re-sign Adam Jones but the depth chart is rapidly filling up. Count a draft pick and there are already six cornerbacks with Leon Hall, Nate Clements, Jason Allen, Brandon Ghee and Rico Murray.

You'd have to say there isn't going to be much more spent in the secondary. With reports putting safety Reggie Nelson's deal at $18 million for four years with $6.5 million in the first year and cornerback Jason Allen's deal at two years, $8.2 million, the counting on the 2012 salary cap for the combination of both contracts is probably north of $8 million.

With that trio of young safeties sitting behind Nelson and Chris Crocker, the Bengals certainly aren't looking to drop much more money on a safety.

Monday was the first time Newman had a tour of Paul Brown Stadium since his pre-draft visit of 2003, when he was joined by USC quarterback Carson Palmer. A lot of water under the bridge since that day. The Bengals took Palmer first overall and then Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was delighted Dallas took Kansas State's Newman fifth.

Zimmer wanted to make sure he checked out Newman this trip since he's a player and person he hugely admires. The big question is Newman's age. With Allen in the fold and Newman turning 34 early in the season, it may not be a quick strike if the Bengals pursue him. 

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