The Cincinnati Bengals have been quite active in free agency this season, both in terms of signing new players and re-signing players who have already played in Cincinnati. To be frank, the Bengals will need all the help that they can get in the tough AFC North. Last season, they finished 10-5-1, which was a half game below the Pittsburgh Steelers and a half game up on the Baltimore Ravens. All three teams made the playoffs.
Let's take a look at how active the Bengals have been this offseason.
Signed: WR Denarius Moore, QB Josh Johnson, DE Michael Johnson, and LB A.J. Hawk.
Re-signed: RB Cedric Peerman, WR/KR Brandon Tate, G Clint Boling, OT Eric Winston, K Mike Nugent, and ILB Rey Maualuga.
If you are a Bengals fan, I think there is a lot to like about the offseason so far. The team has addressed positions of need without breaking the bank - in particular, I think the Michael Johnson and Hawk signings are strong. Hawk is certainly the lesser of the two in terms of potential, but he could certainly have a couple of years left in him. He also addresses a position of need. Johnson, who had a rough year with the Buccaneers, returns to the Bengals on a four year deal.
Moore, coming to Cincinnati from Oakland, adds depth to a WR corps that was ravaged by injury. He did have a down year last season (and was never stellar before that), so it is entirely possible that the Bengals will look for another WR in the draft if they want to add more depth.
In terms of re-signs, I like Boling for the Bengals. I actually thought he might be a good candidate for the 49ers to plug in at LG since Mike Iupati is leaving. Boling, like Iupati, is more of a run-blocker than pass-blocker, but is still valuable nonetheless.
The Bengals have nine picks in the upcoming draft, having picked up two compensatory picks in addition to their normal draft picks. One humorous fact: one of the compensatory picks is coming from the fact that the Bengals lost Michael Johnson to the Buccaneers last season. As we saw, he is already back with the Bengals.
Round 1 - Pick 21
Round 2 - Pick 53
Round 3 - Pick 85
Round 3 - Pick 99 (Compensatory Pick)
Round 4 - Pick 120
Round 4 - Pick 135 (Compensatory Pick)
Round 5 - Pick 157
Round 6 - Pick 197
Round 7 - Pick 238
In the draft, I would look for the Bengals to continue adding depth at positions they already addressed in free agency: along the d-line, in the LB corps, maybe depth at the WR position. One other question the Bengals will face this draft is whether or not they want to draft a QB to develop. This questions comes down to how much faith they have in Andy Dalton. Signing QB Josh Johnson as a backup covers the immediate needs of the position, but drafting a long-term developmental QB might be best for the team a few years down the line.