Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC North [Print without images]

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Bengals should part ways with Simpson

By Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson has pleaded guilty to a drug charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors that could send him to jail.

The agreement with prosecutors includes a recommended 60-day jail sentence that would include a work-release provision. If the judge accepts that on the April 5 sentencing hearing, Simpson would be suspended at least four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The Bengals should part ways with Simpson, who will be an unrestricted free agent this month. There has been speculation that Cincinnati might be interested in re-signing him because Simpson would come cheaply now, but the Bengals are $60 million under the salary cap. They don't need to think cheap, and they definitely don't need another player with a rap sheet.

There's no question that the Bengals need to upgrade over Simpson at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. It was frustrating for the Bengals to watch Simpson, who has potential, run poor routes and drop passes (six of them, according to ESPN Stats & Information) last season. The focus should be adding a wide receiver (perhaps Robert Meachem) in free agency and developing the likes of Jordan Shipley and Andrew Hawkins.

Simpson has single-handedly sabotaged his value heading into free agency, which begins in 12 days. Let another team take on the baggage for once.