When Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer vented about the team’s inability to keep cornerback Johnathan Joseph, many assumed that Zimmer was miffed at the team’s front office for failing to scrape together enough pennies to make it happen.
According to Joseph, it wasn’t about the money. It was about the opportunity to do something that Bengals haven’t done much of lately.
“It was a competitive offer but at the end of the day, you have to weigh all the options,” Joseph said, in comments distributed by the team and posted on the Texans’ website. “You know, what your team has in play. You know the starting quarterback, an All-Pro quarterback, Pro Bowlers, best receiver in the NFL, great tight end, leading rusher from last year. Look at the D-line. You’ve got guys on the D-line that are all-pro players, [linebackers] DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing. Just a chance to be an addition to that defense says a lot for me as part of this team. It was a no-brainer for me.”
And so now Joseph has something of which there wasn’t a whole lot during his time in Cincinnati: A chance at chasing a championship.
“Myself as a player, I always like to follow other teams around the league and see what they have going on in their situations as well,” Joseph said. “This was my chance at free agency and once I looked and explored around the league, I’d seen the Houston Texans had almost every piece to the puzzle, as far as offense and defense. They were just missing a couple of pieces in the back end, with the youth back there. To add a couple of veteran players, I think that was the first thing that lured me this way because if you put the pieces to the puzzle and they become the right puzzle, I think the sky is the limit. They could be contenders for years, and I think that’s what we bring.”
In the end, then, Zimmer shouldn’t be mad at the front office for being unwilling to pay Joseph. Zimmer should be mad at the front office for consistently being unwilling to spend competitively in order to have a team on the field that would make a guy with options opt to stay put.