So, we’re now 4 days into this thing called free agency, and the Bengals are still sitting on the sidelines. Don’t get me wrong: I am not an advocate for overspending (even when you LEAD THE LEAGUE in cap space), but I would like to hear about more than simple “visits.” Apparently PBS is now a bed-and-breakfast for million-dollar athletes.
So far, the Bengals have talked with several players but signed none (unless you count street free agent RB Aaron Brown). Their own players are actively shopping their wares around the country. DE Frostee Rucker was already lost to division rival Cleveland, and DL Jonathan Fanene has moved on to the Patriots. S Reggie Nelson is get interest from the Jets and Dolphins, and Nate Livings is touring the Cowboys and Rams.
While the Bengals have been waiting for the market to settle down, they’ve lost out on guys we thought they might target like OG’s Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks, WR’s Robert Meachem, Laurent Robinson, and Pierre Garcon, and CB’s Brandon Carr and Courtland Finnegan.
Here’s who’ve been to see the Bengals (supposedly) or are planning visits:
- Defensive Line: DT Andre Fluellen (Lions), DE Jamaal Anderson (Colts), and DL Kendall Langford (Dolphins)
- Cornerbacks: Aaron Ross (Giants), Tracy Porter (Saints) and Terrence Newman (Cowboys)
- Runningbacks: Benjarvis Green-Ellis (Patriots) and Michael Bush (Raiders)
- Offensive Line: Jacob Bell (Rams)
So far, no wide receivers on the list. They’ve made overtures to tight ends, but nothing official.
What does this mean? I think we can infer that the Bengals were planning to move on from Rucker and Fanene all along, that they don’t feel comfortable with just drafting a new corner (even in round 1), and Cedric Benson is as good as gone. It also means that the Bengals may feel good enough about their current wide receivers that they don’t see a need to get one until the draft. I’d also argue that it may mean they are working on extensions for guys already under contract.
As it stands now, the team has glaring holes at OG, DB/S, and RB, with depth needed at DL, LB, and TE. I hope we start to see some movement in these areas soon.