Back to Square One: Coles to Cincy

Laveranues Coles (Getty Images)

Cincinnati signed Laveranues Coles Wednesday, leaving the Bills looking for a new plan at wide receiver...

Laveranues Coles left the Cincinnati Bengals without a contract…for all of one night.

The wide receiver that the Buffalo Bills have coveted through free agency is now off the market. The former New York Jets wideout agreed in principle to a four-year, $28 million deal with the Bengals Wednesday, according to ESPN.com. Talks with Cincinnati stirred up when Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

Coles was widely considered the best receiver on the market next to Houshmandzadeh. After visiting Buffalo Friday and having Miami back out, the Bills seemed to be the frontrunner for his services. But Cincinnati made him an offer impossible to refuse.

Last season with Brett Favre and the Jets, Coles caught 70 passes for 850 yards and seven touchdowns. He'll join Chad Johnson and Chris Henry to form a formidable stock of receivers in Cincinnati. The Bills? It's back to the drawing board. As Pat Moran reported Tuesday, the team was prepared for this possibility. The Bills did not want to engage in a bidding war for Coles.

Still in need of a No. 2 wideout, the Bills may turn their attention to D.J. Hackett, Jerry Porter, Drew Bennett or Amani Toomer. There was certainly a major dropoff after Coles in this spring's crop of free agent wide receivers. Considering the team drafted James Hardy in the second round last year, it was believed Buffalo would remedy its receiver needs via free agency -- but the market is thinning fast.

BuffaloFootballReport.com Recommended Stories