Bengals Who Could Be Training Camp Casualties

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Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) against the Carolina Panthers at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals and the Panthers tie in overtime 37-37. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are a loyal team.  It’s an approach that is laudable and one that is tough to disagree with considering how the Bengals’ appeal has changed over the years.  As pointed out by Geoff Hobson last month, free agents are beginning to see Cincinnati as a desirable destination in part because of the types of deals they construct with their players.

While other teams offer guarantees, the Bengals have balked because of how it can mortgage the future. They feel like they can guarantee a player money early in the deal to soften the future cap hits and players realize the lower their cap deal is in the future, the easier it is to get the entire contract.

Turning Cincinnati into a desirable destination is a huge step in the right direction for the franchise, which could lead to a more auspicious future.

Yet, the team must consider players’ performances on the field.  It’s important to continue to establish their reputation of being a reliable team when it comes to fulfilling deals, but to what point?  This approach can also be counterproductive if the team doesn’t continue to make strides towards greater success.  They could begin to be seen as a team where older vets can score a final contract or a place where players become complacent in the absence of greater success.

This unfortunately means the Bengals have to consider moving on from beloved veterans who were productive once upon a time, but aren’t so any longer.  This year presents the epitome of this conundrum.  Do the Bengals continue to utilize roster spots on these types of veterans in lieu of promising rookies?  Do they also continue to spend valuable cap space on these players while they must presumably begin to, at least attempt, to re-sign the many young and promising impending 2016 free agents.

Once the Bengals sign their presumed nine draft selections this year, the Bengals will have about $10 million left in cap space.  They will use some of this to fill out the 90-man roster including what could be their next great undrafted free agent find.  Will the Bengals have enough left over to lock up at least some of the players who are scheduled to become free agents in 2016?

An A.J. Green extension alone, if applied to 2015, would eat up most of this cap space.  A player like George Iloka, and must re-sign player, would take up the rest?  Obviously this isn’t the only option for this money, but if this is the option, is this enough or should the team attempt to open some more cap space?  This can be done by moving on from some veterans in order to make room for younger players to finally see the field; even Marvin Lewis has expressed wanting to see several of his younger players finally get onto the field. With that in mind, let’s explore some veterans who could surprisingly find themselves fighting for their jobs in August.

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