5 free agents that could bolster Bengals defense in 2023

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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2. Jimmie Ward 

Jimmie Ward was flat-out one of the better safeties in the league last season and also has the ability to play cornerback and often spent time playing both for the 49ers last year.

Ward would be a spark to the Bengals' secondary and his expected annual salary (according to Spotrac) is shockingly very affordable ($7.6 million annually) for the Bengals if they wanted to make a move for him, especially, if Eli Apple and Jessie Bates are not with the team next season. Chidobe Awuzie very well could be back for the start of the season, Mike Hilton remains in the slot and they still have Cam Taylor-Britt.

Ward is 31 years old so I don't see anyone offering him a long-term contract but he can still produce at a very high level in the right system. But with Bell and Bates both free agents, Cincinnati could very well look to add a veteran in free agency to fill one of the voids alongside potentially, Daxton Hill. 

Cincinnati still has all their draft capital to fill positional needs but the Bengals aren't usually heavy on rookies playing major snaps right away. Outside of Taylor-Britt this year who saw an increase once Awuzie went down, most rookies grew as the season developed. Jimmie Ward could fit in perfectly to Lou Anarumo's defense.