I will be doing a series of articles that will be taking a methodical team by team approach to next year’s possible free agents. I will be starting with the team that has the least amount of salary cap space and ending with the team with the most. I will try to give a brief description of as many of the possible free agents as I can. I will also be looking for players that might be salary cap cuts in order for their teams to make room to sign some of these possible free agents. Any information anyone else can contribute on these players would be very much appreciated.
The Cincinnati Bengals projected to be $39,622,598 UNDER the cap (all salary info via Over The Cap) for 2017 and with 45 players under contract.
(EastBayNinerFan has the combined total of the salary cap surplus carry over from 2016 and the cap space for 2017 as $47,202,524).
Dollar figures listed are player’s 2016 cap hits.
LT Andrew Whitworth - $8,000,000
Andrew Whitworth is 35 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2006 draft. He has started all 15 games this season. He is still one of the best tackles in the NFL.
43DT Domata Peko - $3,725,000
Domata Peko is 32 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the fourth round of the 2006 draft. Peko has 36 tackles this year and three passes defended.
WR Brandon LaFell - $2,437,500
Brandon LaFell is 30 years old and was originally drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2010 draft. LaFell was signed by the Bengals in March of this year after being released by the Patriots. LaFell has 57 receptions this season for 795 yards and six touchdowns.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick - $7,507,000
Dre Kirkpatrick is twenty seven years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the first round of the 2012 draft. The Bengals used the fifth year option on him for 2016. Kirkpatrick has 40 tackles, nine passes defended and three interceptions this season. PFF has him rated as the 74th best CB in the NFL so he doesn’t appear to be living up to expectations. I am guessing the Bengals will let him explore free agency.
43OLB Karlos Dansby - $2,000,000
Karlos Dansby is 35 years old and was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2004 draft. Dansby was signed in March of 2016 after being released by the Browns. Dansby has 103 tackles, one sack, and five passes defended this season. Maybe the Browns could have won more than one game if they had kept him? PFF has him rated as the 57th best linebacker in the NFL this season.
RG Kevin Zeitler - $8,070,000
Keven Zeitler is 26 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the first round of the 2012 draft. The Bengals exercised the fifth year option on him. He has started all 15 games this season and PFF has him rated as the seventh best guard in the NFL this season. I wonder why the Bengals chose to use the fifth year option rather than just extend a talented player like Zeitler? He has been consistently good for the last three years.
RT Eric Winston - $1,090,000
Eric Winston is 33 years old and was originally drafted by the Texans in the third round of the 2006 draft. Winston was signed by the Bengals in December of 2014. He has started two games so far this season.
RB Cedric Peerman - $1,210,000
Cedric Peerman is 30 years old and was originally drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. Peerman was claimed off waivers by the Bengals in April of 2010. Peerman is strictly a special teams player.
43DE Margus Hunt - $1,168,077
Margus Hunt is 29 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 draft. Hunt has 17 tackles this season.
43DE Wallace Gilberry - $416,471
Wallace Gilberry is 32 years old and was originally picked up by the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2008. Gilberry signed with the Bengals in November after being released by the Lions in October. Gilberry has 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season.
43DT Brandon Thompson - $722,824
Brandon Thompson is 27 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the third round of the 2012 draft. Thompson injured his ACL at the end of last season and has not played this year. He had 21 tackles and one sack in 2014.
CB Chykie Brown - $530,294
Chykie Brown is 30 years old and was originally drafted by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. The Bengals signed Brown in February of this year. He has 2 tackles so far this season.
K Randy Bullock - $105,882
Randy Bullock is 27 years old and was originally drafted by the Texans in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Bullock has been consistently among the top ten kickers in the NFL. I think the Bengals are going to extend him even if he missed the winning field goal on Christmas Eve. It isn’t like they have a kicker waiting in the wings.
RB Rex Burkhead - $700,550
Rex Burkhead is 26 years old and was drafted by the Bengals in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. Burkhead has 47 carries for 225 yards and 15 receptions for 120 yards this season. Burkhead must be on the cusp of greatness. I love that a guy with a name like Burkhead has a polished dome.