At this point in the offseason, virtually nothing has been settled. With the exception of a few contract extensions and some combine workouts, most everything is the same now as it was a few weeks ago.
So it makes sense to ask the question now while the slate is clean. What do you want this offseason? For now, the world is perfect, no players have left, and none have been signed for too much money. Plus, the Bengals still sit pretty with two-first round picks in April’s draft.
So what do you want them to do? Who should they target? Give me your offseason wish list. Here’s mine:
1) Sign Ravens guard Ben Grubbs. Baltimore seems likely to place the franchise tag on running back Ray Rice, leaving Grubbs open for negotiations. Why not weaken an opponent and bolster your team with a productive player who is familiar with the AFC North? Seems like a no-brainer to me if his contract numbers are reasonable.
2) Sign Robert Meachem. Meachem may not be a big name, but he’s a young player who has been productive and is entering his prime. New Orleans has a lot of free agents to look after (including Drew Brees, Marques Colston, and Carl Nicks) so Cincy might able to sell Meachem on the single coverage frequently available opposite A.J. Green. With Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, and Andrew Hawkins working the middle of the field, Green and Meachem would be an exciting tandem on the outside.
3) Re-sign Reggie Nelson, Kelly Jennings, Jon Fanene, and Pat Sims. Sims should be fairly cheap, since he will be recovering from an injury, but he’s a good run-stuffer and a solid contributor at tackle. Fanene is versatile and productive and can provide some pass rush from multiple spots if needed. Jennings isn’t an ideal No. 2, but he improved, in my opinion, later in the season and can probably play steady, if not spectacular football until Leon Hall recovers. Nelson fills a similar role. He may not be the best player available at his position, but he’s better than what the Bengals have behind him for now. Both corner and safety could be addressed in the draft as well, but re-signing Jennings and Nelson gives the Bengals some depth heading into it, allowing the team to target the best player available.
4) Draft the best players available. If Trent Richardson is available at No. 17, you have to take him. I’d even be willing to trade some later picks (maybe a 4th?) to move up a few spots if need be. Richardson averaged over 5 yards a carry in the nation’s toughest conference and is getting compared to Adrian Peterson. If I can add that type of player to an offense that already has some solid pieces, I do it. If Richardson is gone, maybe a guard like Dave DeCastro or Cordy Glenn is the best option. Fine. Maybe it’s Alabama defensive backs Mark Barron or Dre Kirkpatrick that are the best options. That’s fine too. The only thing I don’t want are character risks or reaches for a specific position. Give me a high-character guy with some legitimate talent and he will make the team better. Forget positions and areas of need, if the Bengals get the best values at pick No. 17 and 21 that they can, this team is in spectacular shape for the years to come.
Think about it for a second. Before the draft even starts, the Bengals have Ben Grubbs at guard and Robert Meachem at wideout, and last year’s defense is virtually intact. It makes the draft wide open. And the newest players become icing on a well-made cake.
So that’s my offseason wish list. What’s yours?.