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Cincinnati Bengals are not in rebuild mode

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(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals came out strong in the first week of free agency when nobody thought they would. They are planning to win in 2018.

Cincinnati Bengals fans were appalled when the new league year started and the team was actually being aggressive and making moves. The conservative ways of the Bengals have led them to only signing their own players or small impact players from other squads. They’ve never been the team to go out and make a splash in free agency.

Tracking back to 2010, the Bengals best free agent signings have been pretty abysmal. The best signings during that period would consist of cornerback Adam Jones, cornerback Terence Newman, and kicker Mike Nugent. None of those names are players that will turn your team around.

Newman was past his prime when he came to the Bengals to reunite with Mike Zimmer. He wasn’t the shutdown corner that he was in Dallas but was still good enough to make a difference at age 34. Jones came in after bouncing around partially due to legal issues and failing to even play in the Canadian league before landing with the Bengals. His best showings with Cincinnati was between the years of 2013 and 2015 where he collected 3 interceptions each of those years.

Nugent, who struggled with consistency, never found his way back after the 2016 season and ended up moving on from the Bengals. Other players that are typical Bengals signings are guys like wide receiver Brandon LaFell, linebacker Kevin Minter, and linebacker Karlos Dansby. Bringing in guys on short and cheap one-year deals is what this franchise is known for doing. Especially with players that are past their prime or never amounted to much.

So far, 2018 has been a new way of doing things as head coach Marvin Lewis was retained for another two years and acknowledged that they had to do better. He talked about how it was time they start bringing in guys from other clubs that can help fill the Bengals holes. Then, take to the draft to fill the rest of the holes on the team. He has kept his word to this point as the Bengals staff has seen a big turnaround, biggest since Lewis era, and the team was aggressive during the free agency period.

Many fans are talking about the Bengals being in rebuild mode when it couldn’t be more of the opposite. Signing upgrades to one-year prove it deals is a move that teams make when they want to win this year. While Lewis was retained once again after back to back losing seasons, it would seem that he is under a bit of pressure considering the changes he’s made to his system this offseason. Changes in coaching staff and players have been more aggressive than recent memory for the 15-year head coach. The Bengals are not rebuilding.

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