The Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in one of the more interesting scenarios entering the offseason. Finishing the year 9-8 and missing out on the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Bengals have all their draft capital and hold the 18th overall pick in the first round.
They also have more than $75 million available in cap space, which ranks sixth in the NFL. But that money will go fast. Here are the three Bengals who have the murkiest off-season coming up.
Defensive tackle DJ Reader
DJ Reader seemed like a sure thing to be re-signed as the season progressed. He is the centerpiece of the interior defensive line. After getting a season-ending torn right quad tendon injury in Week 15, that could be in question because his potential market now fluctuates.
What are the Bengals willing to pay a player who just suffered an injury that could be out well into training camp? When asked about it, Reader didn't flinch in expressing his level of interest in returning to the Cincinnati Bengals and the joy he has had playing in Cincinnati.
Reader was the best run-stopper Cincinnati had, and it was a blatant hole when he was missing. The Bengals' defense had a down year from a numbers standpoint, but the talent is still there, and they remain very young.
One of the more interesting developments will be if they view Reader as a key priority to bring back or if he will be replaced via the draft or free agency. Those are big shoes to fill, and the Bengals front office will have their hands full trying to determine how much money they have available.