Monday, December 10, 2012

Dolphins claim WR Armon Binns from Bengals

The Miami Dolphins' receiving corps has been the most criticized unit on the this this season, and for good reason. The Dolphins' loss to the 49ers yesterday highlighted the offense's lack of playmakers and the need for a true No. 1 player at the position.

While the Dolphins are unlikely to solve their receiver woes before the season ends, the team has added another body at the position. Beat writer Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted Monday afternoon that former Bengals wide receiver Armon Binns was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins.

To make room for Binn on the active roster, the Dolphins waived cornerback Michael Coe. Signed on Nov. 28 after his release from the Giants, Coe was active in Week 13 against the Patriots but did not dress yesterday in San Francisco. His release could be an indication that cornerback Jimmy Wilson (hip) is ready to return to the field.


Background

A Pasadena, Calif. native, Binns arrived at the University of Cincinnati in 2007. He became a starter as a junior in 2009, teaming with Mardy Gilyard to lead the Bearcats to a Big East championship. As a senior, Binns led the conference with 56 receptions and 1,101 yards.

Despite entering the 2011 NFL Draft as a phsysical specimen (6-3, 210) that had just led his conference in receiving, concerns about his overall speed and versatility led to his going undrafted. He was initially signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, catching two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown in the preseason before being waived.

Binns was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals prior to Week 3 of the 2011 season, spending nearly all of his rookie season there before being added to the active roster for the regular season finale when Andre Caldwell landed on injured reserve. He was inactive in Week 17 as well as the team's Wild Card Playoff game at Houston.

In 2012, Binns drew rave reviews in OTAs and training camp, earning a starting spot opposite A. J. Green. He opened five of the team's first six games, catching 18 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown, which came against the Redskins in Week 3. Against the Dolphins in Week 5, Binns caught four passes for 41 yards but also lost the first fumble of his career, which was forced by Koa Misi and recovered by Tony McDaniel.

An ankle injury temporarily sidelined Binns in October and he was unable to regain his starting job upon return. Since Week 6, Binns has played in just two games with zero receptions in 17 offensive snaps. He was waived by the Bengals on Dec. 8.


Analysis

Fans shouldn't look to this move for immediate or long-term salvation of the Dolphins' passing game. Binns went undrafted for a reason and has been cut by two teams for a reason, so it's important to not get overly-excited about such an acquisition. Most likely, he won't have an impact for the team this season and if he does play it would almost certainly be on special teams.

Binns has appealing size and is known to have pretty reliable hands from his time with the Bearcats. He reportedly has 4.5 speed and has excelled at out-jumping defenders for deep passes. His abilities as a complete receiver, however, are questionable and he certainly needs more time to refine his route-running.

That being the case, Binns is a low-risk acquisition and worth a look from the Dolphins, who certainly don't have much to offer in the way of receiving depth the way Marlon Moore and Rishard Matthews have been playing. Binns actually entered the season as a starter with an NFL team, so it's safe to say he has at least as much ability as those two, who have combined for seven catches all season.

Binns has earned his first accrued season with his time on the Bengals' active roster and is signed through 2013 at a salary of $480,000 for next season. If he survives the season in Miami as I'd expect, he'd likely return to compete in training camp.