What should the Bengals do with these pending free agents?

Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals
Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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Eli Apple

Eli Apple's time in Cincinnati has been...complicated, to say the least. On one hand, he'll make big plays that can stop a series or even change the whole game (last play vs. the Saints, pick on Derek Carr to win the game last year, the hit on Tyreek Hill at the end of the first half vs. the Chiefs).

On the other, Apple tends to rack up penalties and also has a tendency for getting burnt at the absolute worst times. Just this past game,Apple allowed two third-down converting catches on one drive alone. While he made up for it after that, it still ended up hurting the Bengals and allowed the Saints to get one more field goal in before half.

While the concern with Bates is the price tag, the Bengals need to think about Apple's expiring contract in the sense of if they want to see more of young cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, or even Tycen Anderson, get more playing time. If they do, then maybe letting Apple walk is the best way to go because between him, Mike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie, he's the weakest of the bunch.

Hayden Hurst

Hurst was only signed to a one-year deal in 2022, so he might be having a very early exit this off-season.

Out of everyone on this list, Hurst is the easiest decision -- Re-sign him. He's not going to take up a lot of cap space, and he's been a very good safety valve for Joe Burrow this season. Not to mention, he fights for every yard he gets. He already has three broken tackles on the season, which is more than any of his first four in the league.

Hurst is someone I want to see in a Bengals jersey for the foreseeable future, and I hope the front office agrees.