What should the Bengals do with these pending free agents?

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There are quite a few key contributors for the Cincinnati Bengals that are in contract years and could very well be gone by this time next season. With several other contracts for impact players expiring in the coming years, such as Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, Ja'Marr Chase, Logan Wilson, etc., Mike Brown and the rest of the front office have to figure out who they're going to prioritize in the free agencies moving forward.

This is one of the most star-studded Bengals teams in a long time, and, as a result, a lot of players are going to want big money when their contract is up, whether that is with Cincy or not. What will the Bengals decide to do with these free agents?

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell

I don't think it's a stretch to say one- or possibly both- of these guys will be gone after this season. It's the reason the Bengals took Michigan safety Daxton Hill in the first round this past April, as he's almost certainly going to be replacing at least one of these guys.

Bates is already unhappy to be playing under the franchise tag and wants to be paid the premium amount considering he is arguably a top 5 safety in the league. Many wonder why he hasn't already been given the contract he wants, but my guess would be, as mentioned above, all the other guys who will no doubt want to be paid big money on the horizon.

Bell's contract is also set to expire after this year, which hasn't been talked about as much considering the whole situation with Bates. I don't imagine the Ohio State product will be wanting a huge payout, but Bell has been one of the most consistent components to this defense since his arrival in 2020.

Best-case scenario is that the Bengals keep both of these guys, but realistically you should expect to see Hill on the field a lot in one of their places next season.