How the Cincinnati Bengals can retool their defense this off-season
Of course, cutting Kirkpatrick would leave an already thin secondary even thinner. The first priority in this regard should be re-signing Darqueze Dennard. After that, the Bengals need to look at the open market when the new league year rolls over. Names like Logan Ryan, Ronald Darby, and Bradley Roby are set to be free agents. I wouldn’t rule out some younger guys you could get in the 2nd and 3rd tiers at a more affordable rate either.
Perhaps someone like Eli Apple or Trae Waynes could pique the Bengal’s interest. These guys haven’t quite lived up to their potential, but are still very young and have loads of upside. These could be some names to keep an eye on if the price is right.
Linebacker is the biggest area of need, however, by a longshot.
Re-signing Nick Vigil is a possibility. The former 3rd round pick showed improvement but re-signing him simply isn’t enough to move the needle. The Bengals need speed and athletism, with guys like Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, or Blake Martinez being high on the wish list. These guys will command a lot of money but would be well worth it moving forward.
If the Bengals don’t want to invest that kind of money, maybe they look at Danny Trevathan or Darron Lee who may not command as much.
The defensive line is the strongest unit on that side of the ball. Resigning Josh Tupou and Andrew Billings is a must. Thankfully, neither will require massive contracts. This is an area that could be supplemented in the draft as well.