The Cincinnati Bengals own the number one priority on the waiver wire, setting up for an active weekend from the franchise.
The ramifications of a 2-14 season are finally about to be in the rearview mirror for the Cincinnati Bengals. Thanks to having the worst record in the league a year ago, the team still possesses the number one priority on the waiver wire, an advantage that will expire week three of the regular season.
As clubs across the NFL will be required to trim their rosters down to 53 players in the coming days, this weekend figures to be the last big opportunity to add talent to the franchise until next offseason.
What kind of players can the Bengals add?
Thanks to an unprecedented offseason, there’s a good chance that the football world sees some big-time names released from their respective teams. We’ve already seen players like Adrian Peterson and Mohamed Sanu sent packing.
Unfortunately, these types of players won’t be subjected to the waiver wire. Only those with less than four years of experience will be up for grabs. However, the front office has repeatedly been aggressive on the open market this year. If a player at a position of need becomes available, don’t be surprised if Duke Tobin and Co. pounce.
What positions might the Bengals target?
As things stand, Cincinnati is looking particularly thin at defensive tackle and corner, thanks to injuries and opt-outs. So, the most logical players to add are those that belong to those positions.
This idea falls in line with what Bengals’ Senior Writer Geoff Hobson’s thinking. He stated fans can “pretty much expect” the organization to snatch up an interior defensive lineman if one becomes available. He also had this to say about the state of the defensive backs,
"“Besides defensive tackle, they could be in the market for a cornerback. No one knows if Trae Waynes is going to play this season. Darius Phillips, who was on the field Thursday, has been getting rested. LeShaun Sims has been dealing with personal matters.”"
At this point, finding an upgrade at defensive tackle seems more likely than finding one in the secondary. As a general rule of thumb, corners are often more sought after in the league, meaning one is less likely to get released, and the Bengals already have a pretty good Waynes replacement in Phillips.
However, beyond Cincinnati’s “big three” in Geno Atkins, D.J. Reader, and Mike Daniels, things look very shaky. The only real options currently on the roster are undrafted free agents or natural defensive ends that could theoretically be asked to kick inside. Somewhere among the other 31 franchises, a better option should surface.
Beyond those two big positions of need, expect the Bengals to add talent anywhere else they can find it. The waiver wire doesn’t reset after a claim, meaning if the team turns in the paperwork for three players, they get all three guys no matter what.
Buckle up Bengals fans, things are setting up for an eventful weekend that could have the roster looking quite a bit different from its current iteration.