Predicting landing spots for the Bengals top 3 free agents
The Cincinnati Bengals enter free agency with some key guys on the market. Cincinnati sits with the eighth-most cap space in the league, but the possibility the Bengals will have plenty of new faces on the roster next year is more than plausible. Here are the predicted landing spots for the top three Bengals free agents.
3. CB, Eli Apple – Philadelphia Eagles
The possibility of Eli Apple returning to Cincinnati is high, but a lot will be determined by what is asking price is once free agency begins March 16. Apple progressed positively as the season went on but still was an average corner in most games where teams targeted when facing the Bengals defense.
With plenty of cap space and the idea of releasing Trae Waynes that can save up to $10 million, it makes sense to examine the market at the position and see if there are any upgrades available for a little more money or a little less. In addition, the Bengals hold the 31st pick, so there’s always a chance they use that pick to draft a cornerback if they sign multiple offensive linemen through free agency.
Apple fits the Eagles defense well, and that was a secondary that ranked 25th overall by Pro Football Focus. A solid addition alongside Darius Slay, who can go all over the field, would be a good affordable pickup.
2. OT, Riley Reiff – Minnesota Vikings
Riley Reiff wasn’t bad for the Bengals, but he got injured a little over mid-way through the season and is on a one-year deal. This was a big season for him to prove he still has the capability to still be a starting tackle in the NFL, and he may, but he won’t be a lot of teams’ first choice.
Reiff is a potential backup or a low-level starting, and Minnesota could be a team that brings him back on a team-friendly deal. However, the Bengals will look to upgrade the position, and there should be a market with the amount of cap space they have. Reiff would seem more like a last resort option for Cincinnati to re-sign him.
You could see other teams like the Detroit Lions go after Reiff, which is where he started his career. They may not be a heavy free-agent destination, land a guy like Reiff who could be an upgrade at their tackle position, and maybe pay him more money than a playoff-driven team could.
1. TE, C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals (Re-sign)
This one is pretty obvious. C.J. Uzomah was the heart and soul for the Cincinnati Bengals and was one of the positive outputs throughout the media down the stretch of the season.
He also delivered on the field when called upon. He has 49 catches, 493 yards, and five touchdowns. Uzomah’s market will grow, but it won’t be anything Cincy can’t maintain. He’ll be in the market for $7-8 yearly, and he’s probably looking for a long-term deal with guaranteed money and incentives.
Bengals will probably look to re-sign Uzomah either right at the start of free agency to lock it down or after they get some offensive line help first. Cincinnati sits in the top ten of cap space available and can release guys like Trae Waynes and Trey Hopkins to free up even more if they choose to do so.
Where do you see these free agents signing?