Bengals expected to be one of the biggest spenders in free agency

Geno Atkins
Geno Atkins /

The Bengals are expected to be one of the biggest spenders in free agency according to a report by Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports.Com. LaCanfora reported that only half of the NFL teams spent up to the salary cap in 2020. Cincinnati ranks seventh in the NFL with $37,838,130 in cap space according to OvertheCap.Com.

Cincinnati has several potential cuts to consider during the 2021 offseason to get further under the salary cap. Longtime Bengals, defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the most prominent player Cincinnati will consider releasing during the offseason. Cincinnati saves $9.5 million by releasing Atkins.

Atkins has two years and $24.65 million remaining on his contract. Longtime Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is also likely to depart in free agency. Green played on a one-year franchise tag in 2020. The departures of Atkins and Green put the Bengals in a new era beginning in 2021 led by quarterback Joe Burrow.

Most of the offseason speculation on what the Bengals will do in free agency has centered on the offensive line. The most often named free agent is New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney, a native of Centreville, Ohio. Thuney made $14.81 million in 2020 which was 20th in the NFL, second highest among guards.

"“The Bengals certainly have no shortage of needs to fill, but do we think Mike Brown will be wanting to establish new spending marks along the offensive and defensive line, where he needs help? I have some reservations.”"

LaCanfora speculated above what Cincinnati might do in free agency. Being nearly $40 million under the salary cap the hope has to be that the initial thought by LaCanfora is prophetic and the Bengals will spent what needs to be done to make necessary upgrades on the offensive and defensive lines.

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The Bengals’ long history of being frugal puts them in a position to have to spend the money to prove they are willing to make the necessary changes to upgrade the roster in the offseason. With a franchise player like Burrow on the roster, Cincinnati has to acquire talent to keep him appeased in the future.