The Cincinnati Bengals Need to Send a Message in Free Agency

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The national media has been hard on the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason. Free agency represents a chance for the club to truly change the narrative.

The majority of those in the media, from the typically well-liked Dan Patrick to the always controversial Colin Cowherd, have spoken openly about how presumptive top overall draft pick Joe Burrow may refuse to play for the Cincinnati Bengals. However, Burrow recently put that idea to rest.

Still, throughout the narrative, the Bengals have come under fire.

Cincinnati does have some talent on the roster. Thus, the conversation surrounding the Bengals organization being poorly run has not been entirely fair, but it also isn’t entirely unfounded. The franchise just went 2-14 and hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1990 season. It’s nearly impossible to look beyond those short-comings.

The Bengals have always mostly ignored free agency. This is a fine approach, as long as the organization nails the draft. It did on a few occasions during the Marvin Lewis era. More than anything else, this led to a streak of playoff appearances.

But now the team is back at the bottom of the NFL totem pole and hasn’t drafted a Pro Bowler since 2013. The draft remains vital, but the upper-tier teams in the league usually make a splash or two in free agency.

There are all kinds of hints out there that the Bengals will dive into free agency head first this year, but last year’s #NewDey movement resulted in more of the same. After the broken promise of change last year, fans shouldn’t expect anything until it actually happens.

The Bengals may have to overpay to get the attention of a guy like Rams linebacker Cory Littleton away from other teams. So what? They have plenty of cap room and the ability to create more. Burrow and the rest of the incoming rookie class in Cincinnati deserve a message that the franchise is not the punchline they are often made out to be, despite how the media portrays them.

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Fans deserve the same message along with tangible and inarguable proof that the front office is trying its best to build a winner. The moment of truth will begin when free agency starts on March 18th.