Why The Bengals Could Face Mediocrity In 2017

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Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (33) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Rex Burkhead (33) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals are looking at the possibility of more talent leaving in Free Agency. Sooner or later, something has to be done to stop the carnage.

The NFL Scouting Combine is gearing up and the draft is just around the bend. Bengals faithful are getting prepared for what could be a pivotal year in Cincinnati. After what most hope was an anomaly, the 2016 campaign left a bitter taste in the mouths of those who thought it would be better. But, there’s also a feeling of deja vu lurking in the air. This road has been traveled before and the end result was mediocrity at its best.

When free agency reared its ugly head in 2016, the Bengals weren’t ready. If they were, the results certainly didn’t reflect the situation. The front office was willing to let talent brush their shoulders off and leave. If you’re having a brain lock, let’s revisit the carnage. The dynamic duo of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu were allowed to exit stage right.

Contrary to popular belief, Pro Bowl safety Reggie Nelson was offered a deal before he walked. Per The Cincinnati Enquirer, Mike Brown and the Money Handlers (a new group in the Nati) couldn’t match the cash that Oakland was tossing about. The Raiders gave Nelson a two-year deal that reportedly reached $12 million.

Hold on to your hats. The same thing may happen again. It’s the Ferris Wheel effect. The cycle keeps repeating itself and taking new casualties.

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The Actors In This Year’s Drama

The sad state of the Bengals’ O-line was obvious, last season. Andy Dalton looked like he was in the ring with MMA warriors. The only thing missing was a cage with some scantily clad woman carrying a sign. Being hurried, chased and harassed resulted in Dalton being sacked 41 times.

Unless something is done during free agency, that protection could get even worse. Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler are the main keys to the puzzle. Guess what? They’re the main characters in As the Bengals Turn. Cincinnati has groomed the 26-year-old lineman into a burly, mean blocking machine. He’s probably going to be hijacked in free agency. Whitworth is a cornerstone of the Bengals offensive line and protector of The Ginger’s blindside.

For over a decade, Big Whit has been a leader and vocal standout for the Bengals. Yeah, he’s probably gone too.

Remember that guy the Bengals selected in the 2013 NFL Draft? What was his name? Oh yeah. Rex Burkhead is a supporting actor in the soap opera too. After years in the shadows of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, he’s suddenly a hot name around the league. His 40-yard dash time at the combine was 4.73. Evidently, that stopwatch was defective. Ask anyone on the Baltimore Ravens defense if he’s that slow.

Will It Ever End?

The Money Handlers will be recording a new hit song while Brown sings lead vocals. Be on the lookout for “You Too Talented And My Money Too Tight”. Bengals fans have seen this before. The Browns just don’t give out huge contracts that easily. Negotiations have gotten easier, but it’s still not a piece of cake.

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There’s also the cloud of Marvin Lewis remaining the head coach. There is a chance things could turn around. But, his track record is heavily in favor of a one-and-done in the Big Dance. The problem is simple. If he’s canned before the season, who replaces him? Meh.

It’s an uphill battle for the Bengals this season. Unfortunately, mediocrity could again be waiting at the top.

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