WR LaFell signs with Bengals
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals signed former New England Patriot Brandon LaFell to a one-year contract Thursday, giving them a veteran receiver to help fill out a unit that lost two regulars to free agency.
Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu left as free agents after the Bengals lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fifth straight season. Jones had 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns, ranking second to A.J. Green. Sanu caught 33 passes for 394 yards, third among Bengals receivers.
Cincinnati wanted a veteran to complement Green and is likely to take a receiver high in the draft. LaFell could start right away. First-year offensive coordinator Ken Zampese likes to move his receivers around to get mismatches.
“He was telling me A.J. is going to be the guy,” LaFell said during a conference call. “The way he wanted to use me was in the slot or outside receiver and how he’s got different ways of getting everybody the ball. That really caught my attention.”
LaFell played his first four seasons in Carolina before signing with the Patriots. He had his best season in 2014, helping New England win the Super Bowl. LaFell caught 74 passes for 953 yards and seven touchdowns that season, all career highs. He also had 13 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs, including an 11-yard TD for the first score in the Super Bowl win over Seattle.
An injured left foot wiped out the first part of his season last year and limited him to 37 catches for 515 yards without a touchdown. He said offseason rest has allowed it to fully heal.
“Now the foot is pretty good,” he said. “I’m back to running and jumping and doing everything. So I feel good about this offseason, getting back into the groove of things.”
The Bengals like the way LaFell can line up outside or in the slot. He’s also known for being a good blocker.
“He’s got great experience, and a lot of toughness, too,” Zampese said.
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