Free Agents Bengals Could Sign for Minimum
Josh Bynes, LB, Cincinnati Bengals
A Bengals free agent finally makes this list as Josh Bynes surprisingly has not latched on with a new team. As a free agent addition in 2020, Bynes added critical stability to the linebacker room, starting every game for the Bengals as the younger players rotated into the lineup around him.
Though Bynes actually recorded the highest AV total of his career, that may have been more of an accumulation of reps as a starter than a reflection of a new level of play, unfortunately. PFF graded Bynes as having one of his worst seasons in recent years with a 52.6 grade last season. Still, despite having a relatively down season, Bynes solidified a linebacker room that was the weakness of the 2019 defense.
Coming into this season, the Bengals have not touched the position, relying on the talent they added the past two seasons. Considering the investment the team has made, that decision is not foolish, as internal development from Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, and Akeem Davis-Gaither should result in a solid positional group; plus, Jordan Evans will return for next season.
However, despite the talent continuing to improve, the position lacks veteran leadership of any kind (unless one counts Pratt as a third-year “veteran”). That was where Bynes made the most impact last season, coming into the team as a respected veteran and bringing leadership not just to the position, but the defensive unit as a whole.
The Bengals, then, should find more value in Bynes than most teams, knowing how useful that leadership was for the defense last season. Bynes will not cost the team dearly, as he signed for just $1.6 million last season and would likely not cost any more than that this season, given that he remains unsigned.
While many position groups on the Bengals need an overhaul, the linebacker group needs continuity. After floundering for multiple years, the Bengals have finally infused the room with good talent and should see improvement this year. Bynes could be the final piece to ensure the group continues to grow this year and maximizes the linebackers’ impact on the defense this season.
The Cincinnati Bengals could easily afford any of these free agents but will they pull the trigger on signing any of them?