Free agent wide receiver TJ Houshmanzadeh's career as a Bengal is officially over as he signed a 5-year, worth more than $40 million, with more than $15 million guaranteed according to ESPN.com.
Though he had hoped to make his decision Sunday, Houshmandzadeh, pressured by Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to stay in Cincinnati and by the Vikings to stay around the Minneapolis area during a visit, escaped from a Minneapolis hotel Sunday night, flew to Los Angeles and spent Monday morning trying to make up his mind. He weighed offers from three teams, along with their quarterbacks and the teams' chances of winning.
The final decision was Seattle.
The 31-year-old Houshmandzadeh was considered the wide receiver prize of free agency. He caught a combined 204 passes for 2,043 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons in Cincinnati.
The Bengals are believed to be welcoming free agent wideout Laveranues Coles for a visit, but they have lost out on Derrick Ward, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday to a four-year, $17 million contract with $6 million guaranteed.
The Bengals once again failed to keep a good player, without much of a backup plan. It leaves the team with a thin crop of experience and reliable receivers.
There are so many holes in Cincinnati's game - tackle, center, running back, fullback and much more. Yet the team has done little to address any of it via free agency.
For a team that needed to make a splash to avoid a mass exodus of season ticket holders, the Brown family continues to prove that they are cheap and don't have a clue. For Bengals' fans waiting for a big move to come don't hold your breath.