oldschooler Posted March 11, 2012 Report Share Posted March 11, 2012 On Tuesday at 4 p.m., the 2012 NFL league year officially begins with free agency and with it what could be the most defining offseason in Bengals history. After a surprising 9-7 record and playoff appearance in 2011, there is guarded optimism. With two first-round picks and the foundation of three solid drafts, the Bengals are in a draft position that most teams would envy. On the other hand, fans still remember 2006 and ’11, where the Bengals followed playoff appearances with disappointing sequels. For that reason, not everyone has bought in. That is why what the front office does over the next couple months is even more important. If you’re looking for the Bengals to make a huge splash in free agency, prepare to be disappointed. “Tell me what aggressive free agency the Pittsburgh Steelers or Baltimore Ravens have had. Yet Pittsburgh has been in how many Super Bowls in the same time frame?” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said at the NFL scouting combine. “You win by developing your own players and not overpaying for a guy you’re not sure how he’s going to work out.” [b]Cap room[/b] The final cap number is not expected to be released until Monday. There have been some reports the projected cap number would be $120.4 million. According to an Enquirer analysis of NFL contract data, that would leave the Bengals approximately $31.2 million under the cap. They have carried over $15 million in unused space from last season, which increases the total to $46.2 million. That does not take into account Chris Pressley’s contract, which he will sign on Monday, or the tenders for six exclusive rights and restricted free agents. Nor does that account for the roughly $7 to 8 million the team has to set aside for its eight draft picks or the $2 to $3 million teams set aside during the season to sign players off the street or practice squad to fill spots due to injuries. Almost all the carred-over $15 million is expected to be used for contract extensions for those drafted in 2010 and ’11. [b]Areas of need[/b] Running back: If the Bengals use a backfield by committee, who will join Bernard Scott? With the Bengals wanting a back who can get those big gains but also be productive as a receiver, they could make a run at Louisville native Michael Bush, who had 1,395 yards from scrimmage last year in Oakland. Wide receiver: You always want guys who can stretch the field, but once Jordan Shipley went down, the Bengals were lacking in a receiver who could make the tough catches in the red zone or who excelled on the short- to medium-routes. When it comes to veterans who would pair well with A.J. Green, New Orleans’ Robert Meachem and Indianapolis’ Pierre Garcon jump out. Secondary: With Leon Hall coming back from an Achilles injury and a lack of proven depth, they could shore up that area. Saints cornerback Tracy Porter and Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura, a UC product, should be available. [b]Signing priorities[/b] They would all be on the defensive side of the ball – safety Reggie Nelson and defensive ends Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene. As of Saturday, there wasn’t much movement in respect to getting any of them under contract, but things will pick up on Monday. Nelson could have a market value in the $5 to 5.5 million/per year range with a guarantee of $2-2.5 million per year. That is still lower than the $6.4 million than what the cost of a franchise tag for Nelson would have been this year, but it was still a gamble to tag kicker Mike Nugent instead of Nelson. If the Bengals stick to their pattern of four-year contracts, they are looking at $20-22 million with $8-10 million guaranteed. Rucker and Fanene could each command $3-3.5 million per season and are coming off career years. Finally healthy for the first time in his six seasons here, Rucker started 12 games at right end with 11 tackles for loss. Fanene had 6.5 sacks last season. Both also are valuable because they can play both end and guard. [b]Testing the market[/b] It is called free agency for a reason and the feeling from both sides have to be mutual. In the case of defensive tackle Pat Sims and offensive tackle Anthony Collins, they both want to test the market to see if they can get starting spots elsewhere. (Click the link for the entire article) http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120310/SPT02/303100075/Big-free-agent-targets-already-Bengals Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.