2:11pm: LaFell’s one-year pact is worth $2.5MM, with a $1MM signing bonus, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Pelissero adds that LaFell can earn an extra $500K in incentives for catches.
MARCH 31, 10:44am: The Bengals have made it official, announcing their deal with LaFell (Twitter link).
MARCH 30, 2:55pm: The Bengals have reached an agreement with LaFell on a new contract, the wideout’s reps tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
MARCH 23, 7:19am: After hosting him on a visit to Cincinnati, the Bengals are close to reaching a deal with free agent wide receiver Brandon LaFell, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Nothing has been finalized yet, but it appears the two sides are on track to get something done.
LaFell, 29, spent the first six weeks of the 2015 season on the PUP list due to a foot injury, and although he played in the rest of the Patriots’ games, he never looked quite right. For the season, he caught 37 balls for 515 yards, and failed to reach an end zone.
LaFell’s performance in 2015 represented a significant step down from his 2014 showing. He was a key part of New England’s Super Bowl team in that season, setting career highs with 74 receptions, 953 yards, and seven touchdowns. He added another two TDs in the postseason, including one in the Super Bowl.
If LaFell could even split the difference between his 2014 and 2015 campaigns, he’d represent a nice addition for the Bengals, who lost the second and third wideouts on their depth chart this month. The team still has A.J. Green, who is locked up through 2019, but Marvin Jones is now a Lion, while Mohamed Sanu landed with the Falcons.
No Bengals wide receiver besides Green, Jones, and Sanu caught more than two passes in 2015. As such, Cincinnati is in the market for additional pass-catchers to complement Green and tight end Tyler Eifert.
It’s not clear yet what sort of contract LaFell will land, but his price tag isn’t expected to be exorbitant. His previous deal with the Patriots was a three-year pact worth $9MM, and he was cut two years into that contract. Because he was released prior to free agency, rather than having his deal expire, he won’t count toward the compensatory pick formula for 2017, which is good news for Cincinnati.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.