Cincinnati Bengals: Don’t Blame The Players For Leaving In Free Agency

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Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A fan holds a sign during the second half in a game with the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; A fan holds a sign during the second half in a game with the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-17. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 18, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver
Dec 18, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver /

Kevin Zeitler

Zeitler has turned down numerous contract offers from the Bengals. He is probably the only one who you could blame for leaving when the Bengals have offered him fair money. Now, teams like the Falcons, Jets, or Dolphins could find a way to snatch him away from a struggling offensive line.

The middle of the offensive line was a huge weak point for the Orange and Black last season. But, mostly because of struggling center Russell Bodine. Bringing back Zeitler could benefit the Bengals offensive line but continues to be looking less likely as free agency draws closer. He most likely will demand $10 to $11 million after only $1.9 million last season. The Bengals can’t afford to bring everyone back at that salary.

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Brandon LaFell

LaFell was looking for a way to revitalize his career after his 2015 struggles in New England. He performed incredibly well as the number two receiver and with players like Tyler Boyd and Cody Core taking leaps forward, he might be looking for another opportunity to shine elsewhere.

LaFell was a big part of the Bengals offense, who were missing Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard for a large part of 2016. He could be a vital part of this scheme once again with a healthy offense. However, you can’t expect him to take the $2.5 million he did last season. According to Spotrac, his estimated value is in the neighborhood of $6-$7 million. Divisional teams like Pittsburgh or Baltimore are begging for another talented receiver to sure up their quarterback weapons.

Cincinnati will also need to make decisions on players Rex Burkhead, Brandon Thompson and Margus Hunt. They have always said they were committed to Bengals-grown talent, but after the last free agency, fans questioned it with the loss of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

Next: Cowherd Is At It Again

Any way you look at it, you can’t blame players for going where they can get paid to win. Will the Bengals organization earn the fans trust back, or will it be the start of another “regrowth” period?

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