Bengals free-agent options: Marcell Dareus
There was a time that Marcell Dareus was considered one of the top players at the defensive tackle position. Since then, however, he’s suffered an injury and began to decline. There’s plenty of reason to believe he can still contribute though.
At his peak, he racked up an astounding 10 sacks from the interior of the defensive line on his way to earning a Pro Bowl appearance and selection to the first-team all-pro squad. Those days are long gone, but he’s still solid in the run game, which is where the Bengals need the most help anyways. At 6’3, 330-pounds, he can utilize his frame alongside with his experience in top-performing defenses to stop the bleeding for the run defense.
He can soak up plenty of snaps until Geno Atkins returns, but once Cincinnati’s franchise cornerstone is back, he can revert to more of a rotational role. This would help keep everybody healthy and fresh, resulting in a better run defense and perhaps help each player rediscover their pass-rushing prowess somewhat.
For both sides, a one-year deal makes sense. For the Bengals, Dareus fills the gap until they can get back players from injuries and opt-outs. For Dareus, he gets the opportunity to prove he can still perform at a high level after his injury, allowing him to chase a bigger pay-day next year.