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Cincinnati Bengals February Scouting Report
Coming off a Super Bowl loss to the Rams, the Bengals will have much higher expectations going in to the 2022 season than recent years.
But those expectations must be tempered given the number of needs and free agents.
Yes, this team has Joe Burrow and plenty of other solid players but there needs to be some holes filled and other cracks patched.
Still there are players who are valuable to this team who may not return.
Bengals free agents are by position:
TE C.J. Uzomah, TE Mitchell Wilcox. Uzomah would be a good re-sign for the right price. He seems like the kind of guy others rally around. Coming back from the knee injury was admirable. His talent, though, is not great so a position upgrade would be needed here and maybe Uzomah a quality No. 2.
WR Mike Thomas, WR Auden Tate, WR Trenton Irwin, WR Stanley Morgan. Good depth pieces but nothing major. With the top 3 locked in for this team, everything else is depth but you can't let your guard down with injuries. So any of these guys coming back would be OK. They know the system and are good dudes so if the price is right come on down.
OLT Riley Reiff, OLG Quinton Spain, OL Fred Johnson. Reiff was the starter until injured. Spain also was a starter. I'd bring both back, again at the right price. Reiff was good and would help this team if he comes back. An upgrade is coming, though, in free agency and the draft for sure. If Reiff comes back and is a starter and the rest of the line is upgraded this can be a strength. Spain is solid but easily upgradable. As a depth piece he is valuable.
QB Brandon Allen. Another guy who knows the system and is a serviceable backup.
DL Josh Tupou, DL Larry Ogunjobi, DL B.J. Hill, DL Wyatt Rey. Hill and Ogunjobi should return. If so, the DL can again be a strength with Reader.
LB Jordan Evans, LB Clay Johnston. Not much here to be concerned with.
DB Tre Flowers, DB Ricardo Allen, DB Jessie Bates III, DB Eli Apple, DB Vernon Hargreaves, DB Darius Phillips, DB Jalen Davis. Plenty of bodies to be sure and a couple solid players. It'll be interesting to see how they approach this group. Bates and Apple made impacts and Bates is regarded as one of the up and comers at Safety. However, he did not have a good regular season. He was a stud in the post-season though and folks will remember that. He may price himself out of the Bengals range. Apple found his home maybe after bouncing around a big. Flowers, Hargreaves are veterans that can give good depth, as with all free agents for the right price.
P Kevin Huber, LS Clark Harris. If they want to return, both should come back. If not, they will be big holes to fill.
As this team heads to the off-season, the offensive line must be improved. If it is, the Bengals could easily return to the Super Bowl. My guess would be they may do one big signing, one lesser signing and then draft one early. That plan may include Reiff but he'd only be good as the lesser deal. Not sure who the big signing would be but I see big money going his way.
Could TE Rob Gronkowski be added to the TE room? Well, he said he wanted to play for Joe Burrow. If he wasn't asking to be paid like a top 10 tight end, I might listen.
Depending on who resigns, they might need to ink a defensive lineman guy or two and certainly the secondary needs to be addressed if there is a mass exodus.
All in all, given what this team achieved when nobody thought they could, this will be an interesting offseason for sure and one that could keep this team at the top of the heap in the AFC.
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