Well here we are a few days before free agency begins for the NFL, the Combine is over and I am stuck wondering what the Bengals will do.
First I would like to touch on what the Bengals SHOULD do in free agency. I of course emphasize should because for reasons I have blogged about before they will probably not do what makes most sense and instead continue to "build through the draft." It is not that I am against that way of thinking, I am actually for it, but the Bengals issue continues to be that they do not scout well, or at all, since they do not have the personnel (smallest scouting department in the league,) or go after bargain deals because of character issues.
There are quite a few free agents out there that will help the Bengals and fill holes that they would not have to waste draft picks on. With as many player as the Bengals look to lose they will have to sign a player or two in free agency, but ultimately it will not be the right players. Areas of need include running back, offensive tackle, center, wide receiver, safety, and corner back. They also need a defensive tackle and a defensive end, maybe a linebacker, but I think they would definitely over pay in free agency for that and can focus on that in the draft instead.
What's out there:
Running backs. We are thin at running back and even if we draft a running back we could still use a free agent to ensure that we have enough suited up on game day. I would hate to have to see Dan Coats the running back! For a variety of reasons I did not find too many running backs worthy of spending money on. Too old, too many miles, not worthy of spending money on take your pick. When I say too old, by the way, I mean 30 or older. Most running backs peak at 30 and it is downhill after that. No sense in signing a running back to three years at 30!
- Cedric Benson. Just freaking re-sign him. We are thin at running back and he already knows the system. On top of that he hasn't had a DUI, or OVI in almost a year. Either he is a lot better at drunk driving now or just stopped doing it.
- JJ Arrington. Not ideal, but literally the second best option out there. Again I say re-sign Cedric please.
- Ray Willis. Young and pretty good, only gave up 1.5 sacks last year. Incidentally he is the only tackle I can justify spending money on.
- Jason Brown. This guy is from Baltimore and has to practice against the Ravens D all the time, so you know he is good! Plus he is young. He might cost a little bit, but I say go for it!
- Geoff Hangartner.
- Nate Washington. Great down field threat, but cannot replace TJ on third down.
- Devery Henderson. Same issue as Washington.
- Michael Clayton.
- Reggie Williams. Like his size and that he can block, but can he catch?
- TJ Houshmandzadeh. Again just re-sign him. Pittsburgh did it with Hines Ward when they let Plaxico walk and it seemed to work out pretty well.
- Gibril Wilson.
- James Sanders. Got to love that he comes from the Patriots, you know because they actually know what they are doing. They lose their franchise QB and still almost make the playoffs. We lose our franchise quarter back and we go 4-11-1.
- Chris Crocker. One of ours that I would like to se re-signed. he will come cheaper than the other two and if he continues to play with a chip on his shoulder then he might be the best safety we have.
- Bryant McFadden. Got to love anyone from Pittsburgh's defense.
- Phillip Buchanon.
- Justin Miller. And he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns!
And let me just say good bye TJ. It was a pleasure to watch someone go out and play this game with an unbridled passion and untameable fire. To watch a FOOTBALL player. A wide receiver that will risk his body to make that crucial third down catch is rare in football and you are just wired that way. You are ten times the football player and more importantly the man that Chad Johnson is, it is a shame that 'ol Mikey Brown does not see that. Please once you leave don't hate Cincinnati too much, hate the owner, hate the management, but don't hate Cincinnati, because we love you!