In case you doubted the bright future of the Cincinnati Bengals, Pro Football Focus provided a little more evidence with the announcement of its All AFC-North Team. Andre Smith was selected at right tackle, A.J. Green made it at receiver, and Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins both made the list on defense. Cedric Peerman, who had a fantastic season on special teams and was ranked as PFF’s second-best special teams player, also earned a well-deserved spot.
If the Bengals are wise, they’ll begin to explore some cap-friendly extensions for everyone outside of Green, who just finished the first-year of his contract. Otherwise, if the players get close to the end of their rookie contracts, the prospect of more money from other teams could pull them away from Cincinnati. If the Bengals can keep their present collection of players, spend wisely in free agency, and add productive players through the draft, they will have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl.
What is the team lacking? A franchise quarterback, receiver, and tight end are in place. Left tackle and right tackle would be solid. A dangerous end and a disruptive tackle are present on defense. With a little help at the guard position and in the secondary, Cincinnati will have talent everywhere. They just need to keep it.
So they should start the process now. It could be the first step on the way to the Super Bowl.