Can The Bengals Receiving Corps Remain Strong Without Sanu?

The Cincinnati Bengals are likely to lose some key free agents for the 2016 campaign. With other teams looking at the progress the Bengals have made, players and coaches have been a hot commodity. Andy Dalton made huge strides last year, and looked fantastic. Much of that success was due to the targets he had. It certainly seems like Mohamed Sanu will no longer be in Bengals stripes. How will the receiving corps be affected, if he leaves?

With the consensus being that the Bengals are going to go hard to keep Adam and Marvin Jones, Sanu may definitely end up elsewhere. That puts a premium on finding a third receiver to fill his shoes. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals had the No. 3 ranked receiving corps in the league. The trio of Sanu, A.J. Green, and Jones had a grade of 78.7.

Being 32-years-old, it’s hard to say how long Sanu will be able to perform at a high level. His interest in finding out his worth on the market is understandable. There are more than a few teams in need of a mature and experienced receiver.

Can The Bengals [Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images]Entering the 2015 season, many analysts agreed that the Bengals had one of the better receiving corps in the NFL. Looking at his numbers, per ESPN, Sanu had a significant drop in his production. That wasn’t because of an injury or lack of confidence from Dalton. The Bengals saw the return of Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones. Eifert became the red zone weapon of choice.

Sanu brought intangibles to the Bengals offense that can be utilized by any team. When former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson inserted Sanu, the possibilities were wondrous. Using him as a quarterback, receiver, or running back was always a matchup problem for defenses. Sanu lacked the blazing speed of Jones and Green, but his confidence and ability to escape made up for that.

At this point in his career, Sanu will never be the top receiver, behind the burners the Bengals have. As long as Sanu remains in Cincinnati, he’ll never be more than a fourth or fifth option. Testing the free agent waters is something he’s wanted to do. His attitude about the future is definitely open.

“When you’ve got so much talent on one team, it’s hard to get the ball to… so many talented guys. So, yeah, going elsewhere definitely crossed my mind.”

So far this offseason, there hasn’t been any communication between the Bengals and Sanu’s agent. That fuels the fire and pushes the belief that he may not be returning.

Can The Bengals
[Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

“We just gotta see how everything unfolds.”

It’s hard to envision a receiver with Sanu’s skill set settling to become a team’s No. 3 or No. 4 option. Sanu is capable of much more and has a lot to offer.

With the Bengals already built to win and having the services of Green and Eifert, the chances of Sanu being in Orange and Black are very slim. But, the Bengals receiving corps should be able to withstand his leaving.

Mario Alford is unproven, but seems to be a shifty alternative. Green has made it to five straight Pro Bowls and looks like he’s in shape for another in 2016. Tyler Eifert was a pleasant surprise for Bengals fans and made the best of his time, when he wasn’t injured. Marvin Jones returned with the speed the Bengals needed, to compliment Green.

Although the Bengals would probably love to see Sanu’s skills stay in the Queen City, he’ll likely end up with Hue Jackson in Cleveland. The rumors have been growing, as to where he’ll be. As for the Bengals receiving corps, business should be boomin’ in 2016.

[Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images]