The Cincinnati Bengals attacked most of their weaknesses in free agency and the draft, but there are inexpensive free agents remaining who could bolster the roster.
Following a relatively disappointing season last year, the Bengals wisely recognized several of the major flaws on the roster. With Joe Burrow entering year two of his rookie contract, the Bengals’ championship window is beginning to open, and the roster must be ready to complement a healthy Burrow.
Already, the team has added significant upgrades at positions of weakness. The offensive line has struggled mightily (something Bengals fans are already painfully aware of), but the front office replaced offensive line coach Jim Turner with the highly respected Frank Pollack, signed veteran tackle Riley Reiff, and drafted three rookie linemen headlined by Clemson tackle Jackson Carman.
The defensive line was a significant focus of both free agency and the draft, which was essential after star pass rusher Carl Lawson departed for the Jets in the offseason. Not to neglect the secondary, the Bengals also added an infusion of veteran talent with cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton and safety Ricardo Allen.
After patching the largest holes on the roster, I have cautious optimism for this season. However, the roster must be deep beyond just the starters, and the Bengals could stand to solidify their depth with respected veterans.
The free-agent market still has quality players, especially with some big names remaining unsigned. Richard Sherman, Mitchell Schwartz, and Melvin Ingram, among others, are names even casual fans would recognize.
Though the Bengals would love to have some of these seasoned veterans join the roster, it is extremely unlikely that the Bengals would be the ideal landing spot for these players, likely looking to contribute to a contender with a significant salary.
Here, I identify five free agents who may be flying under the radar for most teams. Even though they would likely sign for a veteran minimum contract, the Bengals could still derive some value by firming up the remaining weak spots on the roster. Let’s start with the offensive line.