10 best free agents in 2023 and are they a fit for the Bengals?
5. Jamel Dean
The Bengals need to work on their secondary this offseason and while Jamel Dean would be a dream come true for them in free agency, I don't see it happening. He's projected to earn a four-year deal worth $68 million ($17 million annually and $47.5 million in guarantees) and that might be too much for them to spend on a cornerback.
The team needs to make a decision on Eli Apple and if he comes back, they'll have him, Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Mike Hilton as their core group. That'd probably take them out of the Dean sweepstakes.
Would Jamel Dean be a fit? Yes but I don't see it happening.
4. Jessie Bates
The Bengals slapped Jessie Bates with the franchise tag last offseason and now he's officially hitting free agency. No one feels confident about him returning to Cincinnati and with a projected contract of five years $75 million with a $15 million salary per year, that sentiment feels even stronger.
The Bengals need to retain either Bates or Vonn Bell and with Bell being the cheaper option, he's the one they should look to keep. Bates didn't play very well in 2022 anyway and it's pretty clear he's not someone the team should pursue this offseason.