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My Pre-free agency Offseason Outlook

 
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starkesn


Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:56 pm    Post subject: My Pre-free agency Offseason Outlook Reply with quote

So I've been laying out my projection for the Bengals offseason as I see it for a while, and figured I'd share it before free agency completely changes everything...Here's how I see the offseason playing out.


- DEFENSE -

Obviously with all that cap space, that means the Bengals have a TON of their own free agents to make decisions on, however a lot of those pieces are ones that were a cause of fan frustration anyway (Yes, we’re all looking at you Maualuga). With that said, there are some places where we need to keep continuity, and that starts on the defensive line.

The d-line is the obvious strength of this roster, and building continuity is something that can’t be understated. Not only is this group talented, but they are deep as well. Michael Johnson has become everything we hoped for, and now is time to pay the man. It’s hard to say what the open market would have been for him, but now that he’s been franchised, we at least have time to work on an extension. You can bet Johnson will push for a $9-10 million a year kind of contract, and he’ll probably get it. He is one place where I feel like you can spend that kind of money and not worry about the investment biting you down the road. Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, and if you don’t bring Johnson back, there is a HUGE hole on this defense. In addition to Johnson, I feel like Wallace Gilberry and Pat Sims need to find their way back as well. The only loss here may be Robert Geathers. He is getting a little on the older side and he is really only a backup at this point in his career. I think we may see an early draft pick as well at defensive end to provide depth behind Dunlop and to protect themselves in case they can’t reach a long term deal with him or MJ this offseason. The guy that makes the most sense to me is Datone Jones from UCLA. He lit up the Senior Bowl and is the only player to really trouble top prospect Eric Fisher. He would be an EXCELENT addition to the rotation and makes a strength even more dangerous.

The other big question will be what they decide to do at linebacker. Maualuga is loooong gone, but the big question is do they move Burfict over to the middle or keep him where he was a season ago? I think you have to move him to the middle. The draft is strong in WILL linebacker types like Arthur Brown and Kasheem Greene that could come right and make a major impact. I think in Round 2, we should look to one of these two players to solidify the linebacking core. The real issue becomes what to do over at SAM linebacker. I doubt Manny Lawson will be back, but Dontay Moch hasn’t shown any sign of taking the spot over either. It really depends on if they want to build a younger linebacking core or continue to fill holes with veterans. I tend to think that with the kinds of outside linebackers available in this draft, going with a free agent may be the course here. Someone like Oakland’s Phillip Wheeler is a name that is tossed around, but if we let Thomas Howard go, I want a Dhani Jones type of experienced player to balance all the youth. That’s why I would go after Jacksonville’s Daryl Smith. He is under the radar since he is 30 years old and missed last season with a groin injury, but he is just the veteran presence to solidify the linebacking core. He has a wealth of experience that would benefit the youth across the rest of the linebacking core.

The place where the Bengals defense has to upgrade the most is at safety. The Bengals hit a home run in revitalizing Reggie Nelson’s career, but he needs a running mate. Taylor Mays is a huge bust, and even though I would consider bringing back Nate Clements or Chris Crocker as backups, none of the draft picks from the last few seasons has evolved into a solid option. However, the draft lines up perfect for them as several very good options may be there in the first few rounds. If Kenny Vaccaro somehow makes it to #21, they would be CRAZY not to take him, but even if he’s gone Jonathan Cyprian in the 2nd Round would be a great fit. He showed excellent ability all week durring the Senior Bowl.

At corner, I think the stop-gaps are going to come to an end. Last year’s first rounder Dre Kirkpatrick was basically red shirted this past season, but he should be ready to take the #2 role behind Leon Hall without much doubt. I would, however, bring back Adam Jones to add some veteran presence. He was one of the highest rated corners this past season and I have no doubt he’ll continue his rehabilitation as a Bengal next year. The big upgrade I see here is that Brandon Ghee will be back in the mix…hopefully. He has never been able to stay healthy, but last offseason he was the talk of training camp as he was outperforming everyone while Hall was still recovering from his ACL injury. If he comes back at full strength, that gives you four very solid corners to build around. The wildcard here could be if the Bengals keep Terrance Newman. I could certainly see it seeing as Zimmer is the only one that seems to get production out of him, but I doubt he comes back as the #2 if he does return.

The biggest task on defense is going to be getting Geno Atkins an extension. If the Bengals don’t resign him now, they are going to pay for it…literally. He should be paid whatever he wants, plain and simple. Ndomukong Suh is making $12 million in 2013, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Atkins get somewhere in the $10-12 million per/year range, probably with a bunch up front. I fully expect Atkins to get his extension before training camp just like Whitworth, Hall, Peko, and Cook before him.


- OFFENSE -

Many in the Bengal fan base unjustly laid the blame at Andy Dalton’s feet for the performance against the Texans in the playoffs. The real problem was having no #2 option other than AJ Green, and absolutely no home run threat at running back to take off the pressure. Gresham was supposed to be that, but he has shown that in big moments, he is not consistent enough to do the job. Now, things aren’t all that bad. They will get back Sanu, who was really coming into his own before getting hurt, and I think Marvin Jones showed he can be a real threat too. There are several receivers in free agency that would do wonders for this offense, but they will price themselves out of the Bengal’s budget I feel. There are several options in the draft to find that number two, but I tend to feel like we have more pressing needs at the top of the draft, so I think we have to take Marvin at his word when he said they were happy with their options at reciever. I think adding someone like Ryan Swope in the 3rd Round would be a nice addition to what they already have. At tight end, I think they are set with Gresham and Charles, but they may look to add either a veteran or a strictly blocking type tight end later in the draft, possibly Michael Williams from 'Bama in Round 5 or 6.

The other big place where they need to upgrade is in the backfield as we know all too well. Green-Ellis was actually very productive when he got the ball enough, but the offense tended to get away from the run at times. They never really gave him enough carries to make him as effective as he could be. What they need is a home run threat to pair with him. The draft, unfortunately, doesn’t have anyone I would really be all that high on. The only guy I’d consider in free agency is really Reggie Bush, but only at a reasonable price. You could potentially bring in Bush to pair with Green-Ellis for a year or two, and take a chance on a guy like Marcus Lattimore in the mid rounds with the assumption that his first year is basically a medical redshirt. That gives you both a short term improvement and hopefully a dynamic option for the future as well. Adding Bush to the offense would go a long way to things up for this offense. Our best games last season were when we were able to run the ball, and improving the running game should have a significant impact on the passing game as well.

Offensive line really played well at times last season, but when Kyle Cook came back from IR, it was obvious that he hurt the chemistry. One of the big decisions, I think, will be if Trevor Robinson may actually be a better option over the long term. He was the starter for the best stretch of the season, and he may just win the starting job next season if he continues that play. The other big question is with Andre Smith. Can you give a big, new contract to a guy just a few years ago you couldn’t trust to keep his weight in check? I say no, but I think that they will do it anyway. You don’t need to spend that much money on a right tackle, but there aren’t many options as good as Smith is when motivated. I would give Andre close to his $9 Mil. asking price, but with lower guaranteed money and also retain the weight clause to protect themselves from what happened early in his career.

Lastly, at quarterback, I really don’t see anything changing. Some have called for a better back-up to challenge Dalton a little more after his poor playoff performance and overall lack of improvement in year two, but that doesn’t make sense to me. If, after next season you still don’t see what you need from Dalton after you give him a full complement of weapons, then yes, I say maybe think about a change. But resigning Gradkowski is the best bet. You could upgrade, but with needs in other places, do you really waste an extra million or so on a backup? I doubt it.


- DRAFT –

Round 1 – Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Round 2 – Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas St.
Round 2 – Jonathan Cyprian, S, Florida Int.
Round 3 – Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Round 4 – Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Round 5 – Michael Williams, TE, Alabama
Round 6 – Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida


Here's my projected roster:

Andy Dalton
Bruce Gradkowski

BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Reggie Bush
Cedric Peerman
Marcus Lattimore
Chris Pressley

AJ Green
Mohamed Sanu
Marvin Jones
Ryan Swope
Ryan Whalen

Jermaine Gresham
Orson Charles
Michael Williams

Andrew Whitworth
Andre Smith
Dennis Roland
Anthony Collins
Travelle Wharton
Kevin Zeitler
Clint Boling
Kyle Cook
Trevor Robinson

Michael Johnson
Carlos Dunlop
Wallace Gillberry
Datone Jones
Geno Atkins
Domata Peko
Devon Still
Brandon Thompson
Pat Sims

Arthur Brown
Emmanuel Lamur
Vontaze Burfict
Dan Skuta
Daryl Smith
Dontay Moch

Leon Hall
Dre Kirkpatrick
Adam Jones
Brandon Ghee
Shaun Prater

Reggie Nelson
Jonathan Cyprian
Nate Clements
George Iolka

Caleb Sturgis
Kevin Huber
Clark Harris
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johndeere1707


Joined: 01 Apr 2006
Posts: 5985
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dont see a lot of this happening... Reggie Bush isnt coming to Cincy, I doubt we take a DE in round 1, who is going to be a depth person. You want your first round pick to be a starter. The team loves Geathers, he will be back, and i wouldnt be surprised if they gave him a medium sized contract to "reward" him.

Bigger Names I expect to be back:
Adam Jones
Terrance Newman
Robert Geathers
Chris Crocker
Bruce Gradkowski
Thomas Howard

Guys we will pursue, but will sign with someone else:
Pat Sims
Rey Maualuga
Andre Smith
Manny Lawson

Guys we will let go:
Brandon Tate
Nate Clements
Bernard Scott


I think LB, S, RT will be our 1st round pick, its starting to sound like RT will be the case if Smith is expecting that kind of money...

I want us to bring in a WR like Anquan Boldin actually, who can mentor the young guys and be a reliable #2.
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starkesn


Joined: 14 Jan 2005
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="johndeere1707"]dont see a lot of this happening... Reggie Bush isnt coming to Cincy, I doubt we take a DE in round 1, who is going to be a depth person. You want your first round pick to be a starter. The team loves Geathers, he will be back, and i wouldnt be surprised if they gave him a medium sized contract to "reward" him.

Bigger Names I expect to be back:
Adam Jones
Terrance Newman
Robert Geathers
Chris Crocker
Bruce Gradkowski
Thomas Howard

Guys we will pursue, but will sign with someone else:
Pat Sims
Rey Maualuga
Andre Smith
Manny Lawson

Guys we will let go:
Brandon Tate
Nate Clements
Bernard Scott


I think LB, S, RT will be our 1st round pick, its starting to sound like RT will be the case if Smith is expecting that kind of money...

I want us to bring in a WR like Anquan Boldin actually, who can mentor the young guys and be a reliable #2.[/quote]

As far as DE, look at a LOT of mock drafts, they see what I see. I've went through and given realistic salary cap figures to all these guys and if you do that, you find that IF they do as I project and resign Andre at the level he expects and give Geno his extension, you can't afford to pay BOTH MJ and Dunlop premier money. Not if you want to pay both AJ and Dalton next offseason like they probably will. Taking an early DE, just like the 2 early DT's last season that never played, gives the team LEVERAGE and protection in that scenario. And he would be replacing Geathers, who played a TON, so your idea that he wouldn't play is way off. The logic is that we will need a DE in this draft, but they fall off in round's 2-3, but are strong in round 1. You get one there knowing there are TONS of quality linebackers and safeties in round 2-3. It makes good sense to me. I'm just connecting the dots with logical picks and free agents that fit the teams M.O.

Ok, here's the thing though, why WOULDN'T Bush come here? A Playoff caliber team that has the money to give him a nice 2 year deal? Not out of the question at all. Would you rather go to Detroit or Arizona if the money was the same? Not in my mind. The draft's running backs are a crap-shoot, and nobody is a top talent...except for a healthy Lattimore. You need someone on a short contract to bridge the gap for a season before he takes over for BJGE, and Bush is a perfect fit. If you think about it, it's exactly the kind of stop-gap player we've used on defense for years.

And as far as receiver, no way we bring in Boldin. Marvin loves his young toys and after last season, no reason to doubt he'll change now. Nice idea, but not happening.
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Jason_Bengal_Fl


Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 3989
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see Bush coming here for 2 reasons:

1. I think he still wants to be an every down back, and that won't happen here.

2. I don't think the Bengals will give him the payday I think he wants.
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johndeere1707


Joined: 01 Apr 2006
Posts: 5985
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Bush wont come here because he wants a lot of money
2. This draft is deep with quality RBs
3. Gruden wants a RB by committee group, not gonna pay a RB that kind of money along with BJGE
4. Bush is not that great of a player...
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BengalsEra


Joined: 31 Dec 2012
Posts: 350
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the Bengals have 2 6 round picks and why would they take a K when there is Nugent and Brown to pick from?
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ark23


Joined: 04 Dec 2012
Posts: 1532
Location: Columbus, Ohio
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with some of what you said and personally I'd love that draft because with Brown and Cyprien we'd get two guys I think are top fifteen players in the second round.

With that said I disagree with taking Datone Jones or any dlineman round one. We franchised MJ, Gilberry was just resigned and we are very very deep along the line. A mid round developmental guy or a player who falls is one thing but using a first rounder on Jones doesn't make a ton of sense to me. He's a LDE with a good first step who can kick inside to DT on passing downs but I'm personally not wild about him - think he's a second rounder, though I doubt he makes it past Seattle on draft day. Why take Jones to be a rotational player in our d-line? He's not seeing more than 20 snaps a game and we have MJ, Dunlap and Gilberry here for the foreseeable future more than likely.

For free agency I'm in agreement with johndeere. Doubt we sign Reggie because he's gonna command money we won't wanna pay and BJGE is still our starter. I dd however agree with your point on WR. If Patterson makes it past Miami at 12 I think we ought to entertain the notion of moving up. I'm not for trading up in a draft that's strong in the mid rounds and not great at the top but adding Patterson would be a gamechanger. Not sure I'd do it but it's worth thinking about. Also don't forget about Hawkins at WR no way he isn't on the team.
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INbengalfan


Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 5573
Location: Richmond, IN
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur with most others about the free agency stuff. Unless Bush wants to to less to play for a potential contender, i don't see it. I don't think anyone in the league is going to be williong to give Andre $9 mill plus over the life of a contract, when the top paid RT in the league is still making south of $6 (Free makes $6.2 mill for the Cowboys, but I want to say he was their LT at the time).

As for the draft, I don't see taking a DL player at all for any reason in the first. Not with the other holes on the team that will need to be filled by rookies immediately. Another pick I don't like in yours is Ryan Swope, who would simply replace Hawkins in your scenario. If we take a WR, I want a true #2 and it will have to come by round three at the latest (second round more likely). I like the Lattimore pick, but we need someone who will line up in rookie camps in there as well. I love the Brown and Cyprien picks. I don't see a need for kicker in the 6th (you had to assume we would bring one of them back) and we have another sixth rounder.


Love the effort you put into this.
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