Age is a huge factor and plays an important role when it comes to signing free agents. A 24-year-old player coming off an All-Pro selection is nine times out of ten going to be prioritized over a 30-year-old player who plays the same position also coming off an All-Pro selection. Thirty seems to be when players are considered "over the hill", especially for positions that have shorter shelf lives like running backs.
Of course, there are a few exceptions to this. For quarterbacks, offensive linemen, punters, and kickers, age doesn't seem to be as much a determining factor when it comes to signings. Still, under most circumstances, the age of a free agent is regarded highly up there with money and quality of play.
However, while it is good to have a young team that still has a lot of potential and development ahead of them, these 'older' (relative to football) players shouldn't be ignored, so here are a few free agents over 30 that the Bengals should consider signing.
Bobby Wagner - Linebacker
If Germaine Pratt doesn't end up re-signing with the Bengals, then linebacker is absolutely a position they should approach aggressively this offseason. However, even if they do, I still think they should give Bobby Wagner a call. The six-time All-Pro had a solid season with his new squad in the sunny streets of Los Angeles and even earned himself a second-team All-Pro nod.
Wagner would finish the year with two interceptions, a career-high 6.0 sacks, 10 TFLs, and 140 tackles in total. Despite this, the Rams have seemed to sort of hit the 'reset' button and decided to release him just last month. Now a free agent, the veteran linebacker will likely garner a good amount of interest when free agency officially begins, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals are one of these interested teams.
Wagner will be 33 when the season starts, but he's shown that he's still got it this past season. He may not be as dominant as he was during his prime in Seattle, but he's very much a formidable force on any defense you plug him into. And, frankly, Cincinnati needs another good linebacker. Akeem Davis-Gaither is a solid depth piece, but I'm not sure if I'd want him to be a prolonged starter on the defense, at least not yet.
Plus, even though Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt are great, they are still fairly early into their NFL careers. Pratt is just now coming off his rookie deal and Wilson will be doing the same next year. Perhaps having a veteran presence in that locker room like Wagner can help develop them further and perhaps push them into the highest echelon of linebackers in the league.
Finally, Wagner has been to the big game and won it back in 2013. Although that was a decade ago, that experience from a top guy on their defense could be key to the Bengals finally getting over the hump and winning it all.
Many are already predicting the Bengals will land Wagner, will it become a reality this offseason, or another rumor to add to the ever-growing pile?