While the intrigue level continues to rise in one trial involving an NFL player, another won’t have a chance to start.

Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson pleaded guilty in an Ohio court this morning to a felony drug charge that entails a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail, up to three years probation and 200 hours community service.

He’ll apparently be sentenced next month. And I’m no legal expert, but the guilty plea should help Simpson avoid jail time, which in turn would help the Bengals save face when they inevitably decide to re-sign the 26-year-old impending free agent.

Simpson, who caught just one pass in his first two years, is coming off his best season. The former second-round pick out of Coastal Carolina caught 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns. He lacked consistency in his first year as a starter, but showed flashes of brilliance and might have the ability to serve as a quality complementary option to top gun A.J. Green.

At the very least, he’ll now come cheaper on the free-agent market.

And if this conviction sticks to Simpson and teams up with his lack of supreme talent to prevent him from ever finding an NFL job again, at least we’ll always have Christmas Eve, 2011…