Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A general view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet on the sidelines at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 37-28. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Free Agency is set to start on March 10th, with discussions allowed to start as early as Saturday. Last week, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling presented their Top 101 free agents. The Bengals cannot “stand pat” and will have make some free agent moves sooner or later. However, the players likely to be signed on Day One (of free agency) may not be the answer. More likely, it’s the moves that are made in the subsequent days that are both the most likely to be made by the team and the mostly likely to make a the true impact.
Flashy players are fun to watch and make for good entertainment, but as we have seen over the past few years, they don’t win the Super Bowl as often as you might think. Players like Ndamukong Suh and DeMarco Murray are two of the biggest names on the 2015 market and have no Super Bowl titles between them.
Great players can be found further down the list of free agents. Players like Greg Hardy and Jerry Hughes on the defensive line, and Brandon Graham and A.J. Hawk (who wasn’t mentioned on Rosenthal and Wesseling’s list) at linebacker. The Bengals could reach out to these guys, who might not see top dollar, but will nonetheless get paid well. It’s because they are defensive playmakers and can make a difference on every play, and with just over $39 million dollars in salary cap space, the Bengals have cap room to sign such players.
Yet, they also shouldn’t forget their own starters. Clint Boling is an impact player who makes a huge difference. In free agency, he should make a dollar or two. Jermaine Gresham remains the misfit among the luxury players the Bengals have in the receiving game. He is too good to sit on the bench, but until he cleans up mistakes, can be a liability with the football.
Many fans would love to see the flash that comes with the $100 million dollar contract, but the fact is these players don’t often equate to substantial wins. It is the plays that are made in between those moments of flash that make the difference. My point, don’t expect the Bengals to sign big deals on Day One. Rather, they must realize they can’t be complacent or they’ll watch key players sign elsewhere.
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