Bengals Free Agency Scorecard (Updated 3/10)

Just trying to consolidate everything in one place…

Players Signed/Retained

K Shayne Graham (franchise tag)
LB Rashad Jeanty (2nd round comp RFA tag)
LB Brandon Johnson (2nd round comp RFA tag)
DB Chris Crocker (4 years, $10 million, $3.5 million guaranteed)
RB DeDe Dorsey (1 year, terms undisclosed)
LB Darryl Blackstock (undisclosed)
DT Orien Harris (undisclosed)
TE/FB Daniel Coats (undisclosed)
RB Cedric Benson (2 years, $7 million)
WR Laveranues Coles (from Jets, 4 years, $28 million)
QB J.T. O’Sullivan (from 49ers, 2 years)

Players Lost

OT Stacy Andrews (Philadelphia, $7 million/year)
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo, terms undisclosed)
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Seattle, 5 years, $40 million, $15 million guaranteed)

Players Visiting

WR Mike Furrey (cancelled post-Coles)
WR Ashley Lelie (cancelled post-Coles)
QB Rex Grossman (cancelled after O’Sullivan signing)
QB J.P. Losman (cancelled after O’Sullivan signing)

Players Who Visited

RB Derrick Ward (signed by Bucs)
QB J.T. O’Sullivan (signed by Cincy)
WR Laveranues Coles (signed by Cincy)
OL George Foster
FB Naufahu Tahi
FB John Kuhn

So far…not bad. The Bengals have kept three of the four players I thought they absolutely had to retain — Crocker, Benson and Graham — and while it would have been nice to hang onto Houshmandzadeh, they have plenty of options at wideout thanks to last year’s draft.

There’s been some speculation among Bengals fans that the team’s pursuit of several veteran wideouts indicates that they don’t have much faith in young Jerome Simpson or Andre Caldwell, but I don’t think that necessarily follows. With T.J. gone, the Bengals have an open spot at wide receiver, and if they can fill it before the draft, all to the good. They don’t seem to be in any hurry to throw money at the position, or Coles wouldn’t have left town without a deal.

A couple things that stick out about the list of free agents they have brought in: the Bengals have targeted fullback, backup QB, running back and wide receiver as needs that they want to nail down in free agency. Offensive line, be it tackle or center, is conspicuous by its absence. Clearly, that’s being relegated to the draft, though some old-washed-up-dude types may get inked as free agency winds down. Likewise, they aren’t seeking to upgrade the pass rush in free agency. Another area that will be addressed in the draft.

Also, given their desultory pursuit of a wideout to fill Houshmandzadeh’s roster spot, I see no indication that a trade of Chad Johnson is in the offing. The odds of that were already set to go down if T.J. left, and not jumping on Coles, who’s the closest thing to an elite receiver left on the market, tells me Ocho is going No-where-o in 2009.

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Tags: Cincinnati Bengals Free Agency

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