Bold Bengals prediction: Front office goes back to the old way of handling FA
The Bengals do not have a great reputation around the NFL. Perhaps the most criticized aspect of the organization is their cheapness in free agency, specifically when it comes to signing outside talent. However, the Bengals seemed to buck that trend in 2020 by bringing in players like Trae Waynes, D.J. Reader, and Vonn Bell via free agency.
While these were great steps for the front office to take, do not be surprised if they go back to their old ways in 2021. Despite bringing in multiple free agents on defense, the Bengals did not see much impact from these players. Aside from Bell, the rest of the free-agent additions dealt with injuries that kept them off of the field.
Waynes never played a snap, Reader tore his quad early in the year, and Mackensie Alexander missed multiple games. Sure, this couldn’t have been foreseen by the Bengals when signing them to big contracts, but it may scare them away from doing it again this offseason.
There are a lot of holes on the Bengals roster, not all of them can be filled through the draft. The front office needs to be bold and consider giving big contracts to offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and even wide receivers in free agency. However, after the mixed results from the last free-agent class, that seems unlikely.
The front office dipped their toes into being big spenders, and they can’t be big fans of how that turned out. Expect them to be back to business as normal in 2021.