Great NFL teams are built through the draft and have their weaknesses addressed through key free agent pickups. Those pickups don’t necessarily need to be the ones that make the biggest headlines during the offseason. They just need to address the team’s bigger concerns.
The Cincinnati Bengals’ time is now. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are getting older, and losing key players. In time, they will bring in new faces to replace their losses, but this won’t happen overnight. It takes years to rebuild, and the Bengals should capitalize on this opportunity.
With almost $17 million in salary cap room, assuming the team will carry $10 million to the 2014 offseason there is roughly $7 million available to improve the 2013 squad. There is a huge question mark next to Nelson at the safety position. Mays has proven terrible as a starter, and Williams needs to prove himself still. Give Rhodes $2 million for one year. This will address the position in 2013, and allow Williams time to develop.
If you recall, the Bengals hosted Rhodes for a free agent visit prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, but a deal was never reached. Rhodes’ 67 tackles, 1 forced fumble, and 4 interceptions from 2012 would be an improvement over any option currently on the depth chart. Pro Football Focus also ranked him as the league’s No. 4 safety in 2012.
The Bengals need to act quickly though, as Rhodes recently told AL.com at a charity event that four teams are vying for his services:
It’s in the works. I can’t talk about it in-depth, but there’s a good four teams that I’m looking at. There are ongoing discussions. I’m trying to see which one will be the best fit for me. You will see me, though.