Brandon LaFell was looking for work, sure.
But after spending two years with the Patriots, he was willing to be picky when looking for a new employer.
While Cincinnati hasn’t exactly been New England in terms of postseason success, LaFell did see something there he wanted to be a part of.
“Once you get a taste of winning, you don’t want to take a step back and go somewhere where they’re trying to rebuild,” LaFell said, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If you have options to pick and choose where you want to go, you pick and choose a team that still is winning, has a good quarterback, good system and good opportunity to win.”
Of course, it’s unclear how many options LaFell had, though he has produced at a high level for good teams in the past. He caught 74 passes for 953 yards and seven touchdowns for the Patriots in 2014, but was slowed by injuries last season. A foot problem caused him to start the year on the PUP list, and he never regained his previous form.
“It motivates me a lot,” LaFell said. “To go out there and get back to play at a high level, which I did the year before I got injured. It motivates me a lot. I want to get back on the right foot. Going out there healthy, clean start. I just want to get back at playing at a high level and watching how I played last year definitely motivates me to work hard this offseason because I know what I put on film last year wasn’t me at full strength.”
He’s joining a team with plenty of offensive options, but LaFell has the kind of size to take advantage of mismatches inside, and ability to get downfield and make chunk plays. And perhaps the fact he caught a touchdown in the Super Bowl two years ago will help the Bengals become even more like the Patriots.