Ranking the Cincinnati Bengal’s Free Agent Additions
The Cincinnati Bengals made plenty of great signings in free agency, but which rank as the best of the best?
The Cincinnati Bengal’s list of free-agent acquisitions includes one of the top defensive tackles in the league, uber-talented playmakers in the secondary, and veteran players at positions of need. With free agency now seemingly in the review mirror and the draft on the horizon, we have a chance to rank each open market addition here.
1. D.J. Reader, Defensive Tackle
Out of every player the Bengal’s brought in, the front office probably faced the fiercest competition for D.J. Reader. Rightfully so, as his skill set would help any team in multiple facets. Although the Bengals probably could’ve gotten by without his addition, the defense will be vaulted to a different level because of his presence. The run-stopping woes from a season ago will likely be resolved and his pass-rushing ability will help free up the others along the line.
2. Vonn Bell, Safety
The fact that the Bengals got Vonn Bell as late into free agency as they did, for the price ($6M APY) and duration (3 years) they did, is a marvel. Bell will free up Shawn Williams to return to his native safety role while he patrols the box and offers support against the run. His addition gives defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo another weapon to work with, especially considering his pass-rushing capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, his tremendous leadership attributes will be relied upon as the Bengals look to usher in a new era.
3. Mackensie Alexander, Slot Corner
Snagging Mackensie Alexander for a reported contract of just $4 million is a steal, especially considering the importance of covering the slot in today’s game. Alexander is a tremendous player and will also step up to help stop the run, but it’s the value the front office found that puts him so high on the list.
4. Josh Bynes, Linebacker
The Bengals got exactly what they needed in Josh Bynes. The former Ravens linebacker is a veteran who will shore up the run defense while also serving as a mentor for Germaine Pratt and the other young linebackers the team will inevitably draft at the end of the month.
5. Trae Waynes, Corner
It seems impossible that a player of Trae Wayne’s caliber could be number five on this list, but that’s just the kind of offseason the Bengals are having. Waynes got a massive contract, and some experts believe it may be too rich for what he has shown so far. However, he was forced to play zone coverage more than he should have in Minnesota, despite his skill set favoring man-to-man coverage. If the defense can utilize his blazing speed and play to his strengths, this signing could be viewed as the best of the entire free agent class a year from now.
6. Xavier Su’a-Filo, Guard
In the eyes of Bengal’s decision-makers, Xavier Su’a-Filo more than likely represents an upgrade over last year’s starter who has now been released, John Miller. That in itself is a positive. The problem is, Su’a-Filo, while he has played well in a backup role, has struggled in a full-time capacity. Still, for what was available on the market, the Bengals made a wise decision in this signing and there’s a chance he could blossom into a solid starter.