- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Cincinnati passed over Terrell Owens and signed free agent receiver Antonio Bryant Wednesday to a four-year contract. According to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton, the deal is worth $28 million, which is very similar to the numbers the Bengals gave Laveranues Coles last season.
Meanwhile, barring an unforeseen spending spree, Owens is out in Cincinnati. It has been speculated for weeks that the Bengals were interested and things reached a climax during this week's visit. Ochocinco also put on a full-fledged recruiting campaign for the Bengals to sign his good friend, but Bengals management didn't take the bait.
Bryant, who turned 29 this week, is seven years younger than Owens and an upgrade over Coles as a No. 2 receiver. Cincinnati now needs to add a play-making tight end and some help on the offensive line for quarterback Carson Palmer. With Cedric Benson running the ball and Ochocinco and Bryant at receiver, this unit should be more balanced next season.