The Cincinnati Bengals lost some key players in free agency in the 2023 offseason but they were still aggressive, signing Orlando Brown Jr. to a big contract and retaining Germaine Pratt as well. They also extended Joe Burrow and Logan Wilson.
During the 2023 free agency session, there were several players that Bengals fans might have had an interest in who ended up signing elsewhere. For whatever reason, those players haven't lived up to the hype this year, whether that's due to injury or just poor performance.
Here are three players that Bengals fans should be glad the team didn't sign.
Originally, the Bengals needed to find a right tackle in free agency because it felt as though Jonah Williams was going to keep his job on the left side. That could have meant that Cincinnati looked into bringing Jawaan Taylor in and let's just say, it's a good thing they didn't.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Taylor get as much money as he did in free agency last spring. The Chiefs signed Taylor to a four-year deal worth $80 million and originally planned to move him from right tackle to left tackle. After they signed Donovan Smith to play left tackle, Taylor swapped back over to his preferred position but it hasn't been a good year for him in Kansas City.
Taylor has an abysmal run-blocking grade of 40.4 on PFF and leads the league in penalties with 20. If you've watched a Chiefs game this season, chances are that you've seen Taylor get at least one penalty. He's been decent in pass-blocking but considering what the Chiefs are paying him, it was a good call for the Bengals not to go all in on Taylor.
A free agent who was linked to the Bengals frequently last offseason was Yannick Ngakoue, who Bengals fans might recognize from his one season with the Ravens in 2020. He had monster years in 2021 with the Raiders and 2022 with the Colts, notching 10 and 9.5 sacks respectively. His streak of notching eight sacks every year ended in Chicago in 2023.
The Bears ended up inking Ngakoue to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million and saying he's bit underwhelming in the Windy City would not be an understatement whatsoever. Ngakoue has just four sacks this year and then he broke his ankle in December, ending his 2023 season and likely his Bears tenure.
A free agent who Bengals fans were clamoring to see in the black and orange stripes was Mike McGlinchey, who ended up landing in Denver on a gigantic five-year deal worth $87.5 million. The Bengals were never going to give McGlinchey that kind of money and it's a good thing that they didn't.
While McGlinchey's PFF numbers look okay, this is one of those times when PFF grades don't tell you the whole story. Earlier in the season, McGlinchey got absolutely destroyed by the Chiefs pass rush, allowing five pressures on Russell Wilson and struggled throughout the season at protecting his quarterback.
When you consider that the Broncos paid McGlinchey as much as they did (he was the second-highest paid free agent last year too), he was expected to be a lot better. The 49ers were wise to let McGlinchey walk and the Bengals made a smart decision not to overpay the guy.