Some teams roared off of the starting line like a Ferrari in yesterday’s start to free agency. Tampa Bay landed Carl Nicks, and San Diego snagged Robert Meachem, both names mentioned frequently by Bengals fans. Other names, like Cortland Finnegan, were quickly plucked off of the free agent supermarket shelves.
The Bengals, however, have piled the front office into Mike Brown’s Ford Fiesta and are in hot pursuit of some different names than the ones that fans have put on their wish lists. They have scheduled visits with four free agents as of this writing.
DE Kendall Langford: 5th year player. Started 12 games last year for the Dolphins. PFF rating for 2011: +1.7.
KL has 7.5 sacks in his 4 year career, but was held without a sack in 2011. He played in 53.0% of snaps for a solid Miami run defense (#3 overall). He would make a nice addition (possibly a slight upgrade) if Fanene decides to sign elsewhere.
TE Kellen Davis: 5th year player. Started 15 games last year for the Bears. PFF rating for 2011: +0.2.
The Bengals’ interest in Davis may indicate that they may not pursue re-signing Bo Scaife and/or Donald Lee. KD had only 18 recs for 206 yds in 2011, so there is little chance he would supplant Gresham as the #1 TE. But 5 of his 18 catches were for TDs, making him a much-needed red zone threat.
CB Aaron Ross: 6th year player. Started 15 games last year for the Giants. PFF rating for 2011: -1.4.
The Bengals need depth at corner, and AR’s 999 snaps played in 2011 suggest that he would at least be durable. Adding at least one corner in free agency is an absolute must for the Bengals. There are flashier names available right now, but he would be a better starter, if needed, than Kelly Jennings.
OG Jacob Bell: 9th year player. Started 12 games last year for the Rams. PFF rating for 2011: -15.8.
I have to admit that I am confused by this one. The Rams were not a good running team, and Bell’s rating is worse than Nate Livings’ (-10.5) and Mike McGlynn’s (-9.1), both of whom were disasters. I don’t know the Rams that well, and maybe there were mitigating circumstances that explain his poor performance last season. But on the surface this looks like a downgrade at a position that was already awful last year. (Ben Grubbs, where are you?)