Certainly the talk in greater Bengaldom has been about potential free agents filling areas of need for Cincinnati during the offseason, namely marquee players like Reggie Bush and Mike Wallace. The general sediment from Paul Brown Stadium’s front office is to remain focused on our signing their own free agents. In an era of Bengals football that has been plagued by imprudent player/personnel decisions, this could be one of the most underplayed good news stories of the decade. There is no need to find a big name or make a media splash this offseason as it’s better that our team is making its name on the field than off for once.
The other aspect to the next few months is the upcoming Draft, which is surrounded with more speculation than any in the past five years or more. Part of the reason for this is that whether the position is running back, linebacker, or defensive end, what is really being discussed is upgrading and or adding depth. Of players currently in these positions only Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard and Rey Maualuga look to be departing, leaving a serviceable roster in their wake. Cedric Peerman looking strong last season, and Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur were big contributors down the stretch. Moreover, the Bengals have made indications that they will attempt to return all four defensive ends to the roster, although don’t forget about Jamaal Anderson waiting in the wings after a red-shirt season.
However, the strong safety position is in a critically different category of need. In terms of depth, Taylor Mays has shown the raw talent but lacks discipline to be starter, and Jeromy Miles still has a long way to go as well. Even if the Bengals were to draft Matt Elam or Kenny Vaccaro with the expectation that they would be an opening day starter, there will be no back-up plan this year as Nate Clements is probably gone, and Chris Crocker is a mid-grade resigning if that is even the path the Bengals want to take. Further, Robert Sands effectively removed himself from the conversation with a domestic battery change that will probably get him scraped from the roster. At this point, why not sign a mature and able veteran to complement a high-octane rookie as well as provide depth and mentorship to the position?