Bengals Free Agency 2023: Arrivals, departures, rumors from Day 1 of legal tampering
When legal tampering kicked off in the 2022 offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals struck right away, agreeing on a contract with Alex Cappa. This year, it took a little longer for them to throw their hat in the ring but they got things going soon enough.
The first move of the day for Cincinnati was re-signing Germaine Pratt on a three-year deal worth $21 million. This was a move that fans weren't expecting to happen, as Pratt didn't end things on the best of terms. He ultimately returned to the Queen City though and fans are thrilled.
Sadly, not even an hour after that news broke, it was reported that Vonn Bell would be signing with the Panthers. Bell signed in Cincinnati in the 2020 offseason and became a star for them in their secondary over his three years with the team.
Fans weren't really planning on losing Bell so maybe that's why this move hurt so bad. A lot of people figured that Jessie Bates was gone for sure but Bell? He'd be back, for sure. Yeah, not so much the case.
Not only did Bell leave, but as expected, Bates signed elsewhere as well, inking a massive deal with the Falcons. Bates will receive $23 million in 2023 and that's just way too much money for Cincinnati to shell out to someone who didn't play all that well in 2022.
As of this writing, the Bengals did not bring anyone new in on the first day of legal tampering. They retained their free-agent linebacker but lost their two starting safeties in the process, which was a tremendous blow to their defense.
While the team lost Bell and Bates, a lot of Bengals players were tweeting to C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who still remains on the free-agent market, as of this writing. Gardner-Johnson even responded to Mike Hilton and that caught the eye of every Bengals fan on Twitter.
The legal tampering period means that players are signing at rapid paces so this article might not be fully up to date. We will edit if necessary.