Cincinnati has multiple avenues to address what is their most glaring need: depth and production at the linebacker position.
After news broke this week that Baltimore has decided not to franchise tag veteran linebacker C.J. Mosley, an already deep linebacker free agency class got even deeper. As a team that is desperate for help at the position, Cincinnati now has multiple ways to improve their linebacker’s, both through free agency or potentially through the NFL Draft.
C.J. Mosley joins Anthony Barr and Kwon Alexander in a loaded free agent class and is competing with draft prospects such as Devin White to become the leader of a linebacking unit. With all of these options, as well as a top 15 draft pick and the eighth most cap space in the NFL, there is no excuse for the Bengals not to address this glaring need in the offseason.
I believe that the team would be wisest to sign a veteran at the position while also bringing in a young linebacker in the first two rounds. Preston Brown and Nick Vigil are no longer viable solutions for Cincinnati at linebacker, and a combination of renewed veteran leadership along with youthful athleticism could be the perfect pairing to jumpstart this defense.
Ultimately, the question for the team moving forward is what the decision regarding Vontaze Burfict will be. Burfict is injury prone, old, and a liability to be suspended. If the team ultimately decides to move along from Burfict, then they may find themselves in need of three new faces at linebacker. Only time will tell if Cincinnati decides to fix the position through free agency, the draft, or both.
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