With free agency looming, many Bengals fans are eager to find out whether or not their team will be active in bringing in talent. While this is a question that used to be answered with an easy “no”, there have been trends emerging over the past year to show that things may be changing in Cincinnati.
The most obvious change for the franchise was that they were big spenders in the 2020 offseason. By bringing in players like D.J. Reader with lucrative contracts, it appeared that Katie Blackburn had begun to take the lead of the franchise and may have a different way of doing things than her father.
However, the 2020 offseason was a first for and the question still remains if that was a one-time event or if spending is the front office’s new philosophy. That is yet to be seen, but assuming they will be active again, here’s what the Bengals’ front office should do with their money this offseason.
Increase cap space by letting go of expensive veterans
As it currently stands, the Bengals are in a pretty good spot when it comes to cap space. Despite having a good amount of money to work with as it is, there are some easy moves they could make to get even more capital.
The most obvious way to clear cap space would be to part ways with veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins, whether that be through a trade or by releasing him. This would be hard for many fans to cope with because he is one of the best players in franchise history, but both sides seem ready to part ways and it would save the Bengals nearly $10 M.
Additionally, the Bengals can clear some cap space by releasing some of their subpar veteran offensive linemen. The club is likely to completely rebuild the line, so releasing players like Bobby Hart, Xavier Su’a-Filo, B.J. Finney, and potentially even Billy Price could go a long way in saving money.
If the Bengals really want to swing for the fences in free agency, they can release players such as Giovani Bernard and C.J. Uzomah. However, Bernard and Uzomah have a lot of value in the locker room, so they will likely stay.
By parting ways with some of these veterans, the Bengals can go from having a good cap space situation to having one of the best in the entire league. The only way a team with a reputation like the Bengals can sway big-name free agents is with money, so they will need to clear as much cap space as they can.