NFL Free Agency: Five Players That Fit Bengals, Part Two


In the first version of “Five Players That Fit The Bengals,” I limited the search to just draft picks. In this version, I’m taking a look at the free agent market.  Every off-season I learn a little bit more about what the Bengals look for in terms of players and the things they stay away from. This off-season I’m getting a different vibe from the team; they’re anxious. They realize, after the 2015 season, the coaching staff and roster will be changing and this year will be the last for the continuity train.

So which free agents fit what the Bengals are looking for in terms of position, age, and most importantly (to the Bengals), what type of contract will they be looking for? Don’t expect Ndamukong Suh to come through the door, it’s just not going to happen.  As always, the Bengals will sit out the first day of free agency, but they could be on phone looking at those second and third day guys, something we aren’t accustomed to. With free agents, it’s important to understand that there are 31 other teams building rosters, so the chances of signing some of these players is hard to predict. “But your saying there’s a chance?” Yes, a 3% chance on average. So who fits, let’s take a look and see.

Mike Iupati, OG

October 5, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati (77) lines up during the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi

The massive guard, 6’5″, 335 pounds, is going to get a very nice contract and might be the sketchiest player that fits the Bengals only because his contract numbers are going to be to high. But he and Andrew Whitworth would form essentially what amounts to a sun blocking Andy Dalton‘s blind side.

The Bengals are going to have to pay someone at guard, as Clint Boiling is also a free agent and he will want a nice contract as well. Iupati, a three time Pro Bowler, fits the power system Hue Jackson is installing and would help dominate opposing defensive lines for the next several years.

Chances of Signing with the Bengals = 5-10%

Rob Housler, TE

Dec 11, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Rob Housler (84) runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly in need of a change in scenery and quarterback play, Housler would be nice insurance just in case Tyler Eifert gets another boo boo. At 6’5″,  250 pounds, Housler possesses great size and mixes that with good athleticism.  He is also a better blocker than given credit for and wouldn’t be the one-dimensional tight end the Bengals fear so much.

It’s hard to gauge Housler’s market, but he will be cheaper than Jermaine Gresham.  With only one career touchdown in four years, he is the type of free agent the Bengals could target when seeking upside at a reasonable price.

Chances of Signing with the Bengals = 10-15%

Jabaal Sheard, DE/LB

Oct 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard (97) against Oakland Raiders quarterback

Derek Carr

(4) at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Like rats jumping off a sinking boat, I expect any free agent formerly of the Browns to jump ship and test the open waters. Sheard has played both with his hand in the dirt and at OLB (in a 3-4). He is Pro Football Focus’ ninth ranked edge defender, so he would provide depth at defensive end and could play some strong side linebacker.  He would bring a pass-rushing prowess to the defense, something the team was missing this past season.

After a 55 tackle, 8.5 sack rookie campaign, the 25-year-old’s production has decreased every year since, but playing for the Browns and their coaching carousel will do that. Sheard is the type of talented, young, productive player who will be in the second-tier of free agents the Bengals will look to dip into.

Chances of Signing with the Bengals 10-15%

Jared Odrick, DT

Nov 13, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick (98) celebrates his tackle as Miami defeated Buffalo 22-9. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

If Odrick makes it past the second day of free agency, the Bengals may attempt to sign him. He fits what they are doing and comes from a similar system run by old friend and former secondary coach Kevin Coyle.

Odrick only had one sack this year, but was rated well by PFF as a pass rusher due to the constant pressure he put on opposing quarterbacks. Odrick would add some much-needed toughness to the interior of the defensive line and add some push opposite Geno Atkins. The 6’5″, 305 pounds, Odrick would also provide insurance in case Geno never returns to his All-Pro form.

Chances of Signing with the Bengals 10-15%

Patrick Robinson, CB

Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) intercepts a pass from Chicago Bears quarterback

Jay Cutler

(not pictured) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With Terence Newman likely leaving Cincinnati, the Bengals will have to find another first round corner to fill his shoes right?  Robinson, the 32nd pick in the 2010 draft, is the type of player we’ve seen revive his career in Cincinnati, i.e. Adam Jones, Terence Newman, and Reggie Nelson.  Robinson is in a similar boat as his playing time and role has fluctuated over the years.

The Saints’ defense has been terrible for a couple seasons now and that can make front offices sour about their defensive players. The good thing about Robinson is he has experience having played in 58 games and produced nine interceptions and 46 passes defended across his career. He would provide some veteran depth at cornerback as the team transitions to the Darqueze Dennard/Dre Kirkpatrick era.

Chances of Signing with the Bengals 15-20%

More from Stripe Hype