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

  • Mike

    How could anyone conclude that this is “not bad”. We lost our best WR and a starting offensive tackle, have retained nothing but average players and have signed no one knew. Get a clue.

  • David

    The Bengals never had a chance to retain Housh, who was determined to leave. And if you think losing Stacy Andrews was bad, you’re the one who needs to get a clue, not me. I find it hilarious that when they franchised Andrews last season, they got torn apart by fans for paying $7.5 million for a backup tackle. Then he goes out, gives up nearly a fifth of total team sacks allowed and tears up his knee — and now the Bengals are to be slammed for not topping a $7 million/year offer!

  • Mike

    I don’t disagree with either of those moves individually but when you keep a scorecard and note that we lost our best WR and a starting lineman and say “Not bad”, you should get a clue. We are struggling to maintain last year’s team, which was abysmal. We have gotten worse. To me, that’s bad.

  • Mike

    Nobody new. Lose two starters. That should say it all.

  • David

    And just who are the free agent saviors the Bengals failed to sign? This is a very weak free agent class. Look around. Pittsburgh is down players. Baltimore let half their D and their starting center go. Cleveland is holding a fire sale.

    If the Bengals can finish up with a fullback and backup QB signing, I will consider this free agent period a success. Coles would be a nice bonus, if only because it keeps the option of trading Chad alive.

  • Chip

    The only position that I was hoping that they would address, besides keeping Benson/Crocker, was getting a starting center. Hopefully we can get a quality one in the draft (2nd or 3rd).

  • David

    Yeah, I wanted a center, which is one reason the Bengals’ free agency so far is only “not bad” instead of good to me. If we have to rely on a rookie center that will make me very nervous (and probably give Carson the absolute willies).

    One question is if we have anything in the trio of Santucci, Cook and Crummy. The buzz last offseason was that Santucci was looking good and making a run at taking the starting job from Ghiacuic. Then he got hurt for the year. After that, the buzz was Cook was coming on and they might bench Ghiacuic for him. Then he got hurt, too. Finally they picked up Crummy, who would have been a mid-round pick had he not broken his leg twice.

    My gut says none of these guys can be relied on to be starting NFL center and they’ll have to get one sometime between rounds 2 and 4. But I have no idea what the Bengals themselves think.