Bengals News

Bengals 2015 Free Agency: Diamonds in the Rough

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Nov 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) throws while under pressure from Arizona Cardinals defensive end Tommy Kelly (95) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

DT Tommy Kelly

Veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly may be 34 years old, but he still seems to have some gas left in the tank.

After being cut by the Patriots, Kelly signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals in response to Darnell Dockett‘s injury.  Kelly enjoyed an excellent year with the Cardinals in 2014.  Even at his advanced age, Kelly played 708 snaps (66.9%) on the Cardinals’ defensive line, which was second only to All-Pro Calais Campbell.  Kelly helped the Cardinals maintain one of the league’s stingiest defenses, which probably would’ve been even better from a statistical standpoint if not their anemic offense.

The Bengals are in dire need of depth at defensive tackle.  Domata Peko will likely remain with the team, but his run-stuffing skills have attenuated in recent seasons.  This while Devon Still simply hasn’t burgeoned the way the Bengals would’ve hoped.  Geno Atkins will likely enjoy a better 2015 than 2014 with a full off-season to work with, but other than him, Brandon Thompson is the only other tackle that has shown signs of potential at the position.

Depending on how the Bengals handle the upcoming draft, they could use a player like Tommy Kelly.  He’d be the big body they need in the middle of the line, and would complement Atkins well.  If the Bengals chose to take a tackle in the draft, Kelly could still provide great depth as he’s likely the better player between he and Peko.  Tommy Kelly’s decade worth of experience means he could help tutor young players as well.

He may not be the sexiest signing this off-season, but acquiring Tommy Kelly for the 2015 campaign could help lighten the load in the middle of the line while also giving the Bengals more than one draft to properly improve the tackle position going forward.

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