3 Bengals free agents we'll sadly miss in 2024

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Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
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D.J. Reader

Were it not for an injury that sidelined Reader for several games in 2023 and likely will keep him out for a chunk of the 2024 season, it wouldn't have been crazy at all for the Bengals to make a strong effort to keep the defensive lineman in Cincinnati. Reader was a tremendous run stopper during his time with the Bengals, sitting with a 75.3 PFF run defense grade.

When Reader missed time, it was obvious because opposing teams would run the ball so much easier on the Bengals defense. Reader was important to this group and that's why it would have made sense to see the team try to keep him around long-term.

Unfortunately, his injury made that an easier problem for the Bengals to solve. The injury, which was a torn quad, could keep the NFL veteran out for a chunk of time in 2024, limiting what teams might be interested in signing him. He did say that he'd like to return to Cincinnati but is this something the Bengals are willing to entertain?

Fans would love to have Reader back but the injury paired with him turning 30 this summer could scare the Bengals off. If he does leave, it'll be sad to see him go but it might be the best decision for the Bengals to move on.