The Cincinnati Bengals have been known for quiet offseasons especially when it comes to free agency. Not in 2018.
Cincinnati Bengals fans were not happy when head coach Marvin Lewis was retained for another two years following back to back losing seasons. In his 15 years with the franchise, Lewis has yet to bring a playoff victory to Cincinnati which has many fans ready to move on. Failing to alter his way of building this team and staying clear for the most part of free agency is possibly part of the issue in previous years.
Lewis has always believed in building his team through the draft bringing in their own guys instead of overpaying for players from other teams. This philosophy is the route to go but there have to be some moves in free agency at times. When looking back at teams that have been to the Super Bowl in recent years, not just winners, all of the teams have made key signings in free agency.
Take a look at the Patriots who seem to be a consistent contender for the Super Bowl each year. Just this last season they made moves in free agency for cornerback Stephon Gilmore and traded for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Both of these additions in 2017 made big impacts for their side of the ball.
The Philadelphia Eagles made some serious moves in the 2017 free agency period. Second-year head coach Doug Pederson signed numerous free agents that helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl last season. In fact, they rebuild their entire offense with weapons from other franchises. Here is a list of talent brought in just on the offensive side of the ball in 2017.
Building the offense around second-year quarterback Carson Wentz proved successful for the Eagles in 2017. Even when their starting quarterback Wentz went down with a season-ending injury, the Eagles were able to win the Super Bowl with backup quarterback Nick Foles who was signed in the 2017 offseason. This is just some of the starters for the Eagles that were signed in free agency and not counting any of the defensive players they brought in.
With that being said, the Bengals have been criticized for not making moves in the free agency period year after year. Following Lewis getting an extension, he addressed the issues and possible changes coming in 2018.
It would seem that Lewis has kept his word to be more willing to make moves bringing in players from other teams to help the team. The Bengals have brought in a few players that will be immediate impacts on this Cincinnati team already making it where they can spend their draft picks on other positions of need. Here is a list of moves the Bengals have made in the last week.
Quarterback Matt Barkley signed a two-year deal
The two moves that were surprising to most fans was the trade for Cordy Glenn and signing of Preston Brown. These two moves will allow the team to possibly trade up in the draft with having 11 picks to make likely quality picks instead of quantity. Both positions were in need of filling this offseason and filling them before the draft means they can focus on other areas.
These moves do not make up for years of struggles and pain for fans. What they do mean is that Lewis made his words into actions and is showing that he is willing to try something new in 2018 since his system hasn’t worked. The moves that have been made should bring optimism for things to come in 2018.
In the press conference after Lewis receiving his extension, he explained what was going to be and what had to be different in 2018. One of those things was that they had to be more verticle on offense. Quarterback Andy Dalton has to be more consistent and the offense more physical are keys to them having success.
"“We have to get back to being a vertical threat team,” Lewis said. “We have to begin the football season being able to run the football. That’s got to be more consistent. We have to be more physical every opportunity we can so that we can control the football game that way."
The trade for Glenn is the first step in the right direction to make this happen. Cincinnati’s offensive line has been putrid the last two seasons keeping Dalton under pressure most snaps. While Dalton needs to improve as well, one way to help him improve is protecting him. Glenn brings an upgrade to the offensive line and hopefully not the only upgrade. The team will also be moving on from longtime offensive line coach Paul Alexander and bringing in former Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Frank Pollack.
When he was asked about how he was going to be better in 2018 considering the team hasn’t won a single playoff game under him he stated they HAVE to be better. The team has shown more willingness to make moves this offseason and fans hope that they continue that moving forward in the offseason.