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The Bengals, T.O. and Antonio Bryant’s knee

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Terrell Owens #81 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the sideline during the game against the New York Jets on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Bengals signed Terrell Owens to a one-year, $2 million contract on Tuesday according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. In other news, Marvin Lewis also became the spokesperson for Excedrin Migraine.

I like the signing. Actually to be more specific, I like the fit. T.O. could have been toxic to Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez’s development had the Rams or Jets (two teams that had shown interest in the receiver over the last couple of days) signed him. But in Cincinnati he’ll play for a veteran quarterback in Carson Palmer who won’t take his guff and with Pacman Jones, Matt Jones and Tank Johnson already on the roster, there’s no way Owens could pollute the Bengals’ locker room more than it has been over the last couple of years.

But the biggest issue stemming from this signing is what it means to Antonio Bryant. Obviously the knee injury that slowed him in spring practices is still a major concern or else they wouldn’t have signed T.O. Think about it, if they were seriously interested in Owens then why didn’t they sign him before now? What has changed since March (or April, or June, or the first 26 days in July) other than Bryant’s injury worsening?

The other issue is that the Bengals signed Bryant to a four-year, $28 million contract despite there being concerns about his health. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee last August and it continued to bother him throughout the season. Yet Cincinnati still gave him a multi-year deal and he’s likely to slide to No. 3 on their depth chart with the signing of Owens.

Considering the Bengals will pound the ball on the ground again this year, they should be fine with Chad Ochocinco, T.O. and a hobbled Bryant in the passing game. (I’m also high on rookie Jordan Shipley, who was nothing short of outstanding as Colt McCoy’s top target at Texas.) But the signing of Owens raises major questions about why the Bengals decided to pay Bryant $7 million a year without being more cautious about his knee injury.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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