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Thread: Cincinnati Bengals Xtra: The free agents: Who stays, who goes?

  1. #1

    Cincinnati Bengals Xtra: The free agents: Who stays, who goes?

    Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati Enquirer Published 9:45 a.m. ET Jan. 19, 2018 | Updated 4:43 p.m. ET Jan. 21, 2018


    Taking an individual look at the 10 Bengals unrestricted free agents, along with AJ McCarron, where they stand and our thought on the percentage chance the team brings them back.

    With estimations that the salary cap could rise another $10 million or more, once again the Bengals are in a position to re-sign some of their own free agents and extend those with one year left on their deals. The cap website overthecap.com is projecting a $178 million cap, which means the Bengals would have the 14th most cap space in the league at $36,986,799.

    The team has 10 unrestricted free agents and one restricted free agent in AJ McCarron. McCarron is currently disputing that status in the hopes of becoming an unrestricted free agent. That grievance is expected to be settled by an independent arbitrator by the start of free agency in March. The hearing is set for February 15.

    Here are all of the club’s free agents, listed in our view of the team’s priority to re-sign, along with our thoughts on whether they will be retained:

    AJ McCarron (restricted)

    Age: 27

    Stats: He was 7 of 14 for 66 yards without a touchdown or interception in his limited mop-up time this year.

    2017 snap percentage: 2.7 percent

    2017 cap number: $735,413

    Outlook: McCarron’s grievance will be heard on Feb. 15, and should he remain restricted the Bengals are expected to place a high tender on McCarron, either first- or second-round. They would also consider matching an offer in the hopes of trading him. All options will be on the table. If McCarron wins his case and is an unrestricted free agent, he will be gone.

    He said: “I guess we'll find out Feb. 15. Like I told Marv (Lewis), I would love to have my chance. That's all I want. Like I said, it's out of my control.”

    Our projection of return: 20 percent


    Tyler Eifert

    Age: 27

    Stats: Four catches for 46 yards in two games.

    2017 snap percentage: 10.8 percent

    2017 cap number: $4,782,000

    Outlook: He played just two games before having to undergo his second back surgery in two years, and he also got a knee cleaned up. The Bengals are interested in having him back but after not offering an extension offer before the season, it set Eifert up to reach unrestricted free agency. Despite having missed 41 of a possible 80 games in five years, the one healthy season he had in 2015 might be enough for a team to offer him a more lucrative deal than the Bengals will be willing to risk.

    He said: “I’m open for whatever. I’m comfortable in Cincinnati. It’s a place that I’ve called home for five years and I’ve really enjoyed my time so it’s somewhere where I’d like to stay if that was possible. But all options are on the table for sure. It’s just, I guess, who wants me? I don’t know. I’ve had my injuries and all that, so I don’t know what to expect.”

    Our projection of return: 10 percent


    Jeremy Hill

    Age: 25

    Stats: Rushed 37 times for 116 yards (3.1 average) and caught four passes for 16 yards in seven games.

    2017 snap percentage: 8.0 percent

    2017 cap number: $1,194,328

    Outlook: A part-time player to begin with, his role was reduced in Week 3 and after Week 7 Hill decided it was in his best interest to have ankle surgery to get ready for free agency. The drafting of Joe Mixon in 2017 signaled the end of Hill’s four-year career in Cincinnati. Marvin Lewis stated after Hill’s decision it was the running back’s call to have the surgery and he could have played through it but decided there was too much discomfort.

    He said: “I’m feeling a lot better. Ankle’s coming around. I should be back to myself in (January). I just want to put myself in the best position going to free agency at this point. It’s been a great run here. If it’s over, it’s over and (I’ve) got to move on to new things. But if it’s not, then it’d be great to be back.”

    Our projection of return: 1 percent


    Russell Bodine

    Age: 25

    Stats: Started all 66 possible games since being drafted in 2014.

    2017 snap percentage: 99.9 percent

    2017 cap number: $1,911,114

    Outlook: A starter from day one, but the team drafted a center in 2017 (but lost him off the practice squad). The club didn’t enter into extension talks before the season, and both parties could be looking to move after an uneven four years. But, new offensive line coach Frank Pollack may feel Bodine has untapped potential.

    He said: “I’d love to be back here. I like the city, I like the organization. They were the ones that were good enough to give me a shot from the get-go. That being said you still gotta see where all that stuff shakes out. I’d love to be back but we’ll see how that goes.”

    Our projection of return: 20 percent


    Andre Smith

    Age: 30

    Stats: Of the 37 offensive linemen selected in 2009 draft, only 11 are still active, Smith being one of them. He was selected sixth overall by the Bengals that year.

    2017 snap percentage: 55.9 percent

    2017 cap number: $3,140,625

    Outlook: Smith was signed to a one-year deal to play right guard after an injury-shortened 2016. He wound up being a swing tackle and eventually the starting right tackle until his season ended with a knee injury on the last play of Week 14. With so many questions on the offensive line, the front office might be quicker to secure Smith’s services for two more years to not only compete at tackle, but provide insurance across the line. The new offensive line coach could have a heavy say in this re-signing, however.

    Our projection of return: 60 percent


    Kevin Huber

    Age: 32

    Stats: Huber’s 40.8 net yards per punt was tied for 13th in the NFL this past year.

    2017 cap number: $3,170,000

    Outlook: The Cincinnati native wants to be back for his 10th season and despite a revolving door of new coverage men on his squad, Huber turned in one of his best seasons kicking the ball after seeing a dip in production in 2015 and 2016.

    He said: “The number one goal is to stay here. Obviously, I know it doesn’t always happen that way. All things being equal, I’d prefer to be here. I love playing for this team. I love the organization. They’ve been nothing but good to me. And also I’m from here. My wife’s here. So it’s like the perfect storm. I’d love to stay here.”

    Our projection of return: 90 percent


    Chris Smith

    Age: 25

    Stats: Finished the year with three sacks and nine quarterback hits, to go with a forced fumble and four tackles for loss.

    2017 snap percentage: 35 percent

    2017 cap number: $690,000

    Outlook: The Bengals liked him enough to trade for him in the offseason and he’s shown some versatility by being able to move to defensive tackle in pass rush situations. But he’s also going to be looking for a more pronounced role in 2018 and likely the biggest contract of his career, so he may decide to test the waters. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin may also have new ideas on what kind of players he wants along the defensive line.

    He said: “I love it here. We’ll see what happens around here. The thing about it, I stayed healthy – thank God I stayed healthy all 16 games – showed what I could do on field. I’m very versatile across the line. I can do anything, basically. I think the main thing is just the work is done and I’ll just control what I can control and just gotta see what happens. It is exciting, man. It’s exciting. I always used to look when I first came to the league and see guys get this and that. Now it’s my day. It’s going to be fun. I’m anxious and excited at the same time.”

    Our projection of return: 50 percent


    Kevin Minter

    Age: 27

    Stats: 32 total tackles (16 solo).

    2017 snap percentage: 17.3 percent

    2017 cap number: $4,250,000

    Outlook: The Bengals wanted to sign him to a multi-year deal before the season but he elected to gamble on himself. Unfortunately, he ended the year on injured reserve and just played nine games, though surgery was not needed on his hamstring. The Bengals may be looking to move on, or perhaps bring him back for another one-year deal at a much lower rate. This could depend on how new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin views Minter, and the linebacker position in general.

    He said: “I’m definitely going to try to make sure I’m not as nervous this time around, kind of just let the cards fall as they may. Whatever happens, happens. I’m blessed either way. I got a chance to play for two very good organizations. If I’m back here, that would be great. If I’m not, I understand that, too.”

    Our projection of return: 45 percent


    Cedric Peerman

    Age: 31

    Stats: On injured reserve all season.

    2017 cap number: $1,087,500

    Outlook: The 2015 special teams Pro Bowler has missed 26 of the last 32 games due to injuries, and while he adds a solid veteran and locker room presence, his absence the last two years has allowed younger players a chance to grow into roles on special teams. That said, he could be back to compete for his spot and the third or fourth running back role through camp.

    Our projection of return: 40 percent


    Pat Sims

    Age: 32

    Stats: Sims had 25 tackles and three for a loss.

    2017 snap percentage: 26.7 percent

    2017 cap number: $352,941

    Outlook: The veteran was waived in-season for a week and with Andrew Billings entering his third year, the front office will likely let Sims move on so Billings can assume a greater role. Again, new defensive coordinator Austin may have a certain view of Sims and his role in the defense.

    Our projection of return: 10 percent


    Eric Winston

    Age: 34

    Stats: Played through injury the against Baltimore, including holding off the rush on the final touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd.

    2017 snap percentage: 21.1 percent

    2017 cap number: $289,412

    Outlook: Winston did not make the team out of training camp and did not sign with a team to start the 2017 season. He returned to add depth on Nov. 8 after starting right tackle Jake Fisher was placed on the non-football injury/illness list. If he’s re-signed, it’s likely to maintain veteran leadership through camp and the preseason.

    Our projection of return: 5 percent

    https://www.cincinnati.com/story/spo...es/1033836001/
    Last edited by Arkansas Bengal; 01-21-2018 at 11:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Smith, Smith, and Huber. Considering how bad the STs were I’d strongly consider Peerman. And possibly on Eifert.

  3. Huber for sure, Andre pretty likely, the rest of them... meh. Extending Geno, Dunlap, and Kroft is probably way higher on the agenda.
    ORANGE n BLACK

  4. #4
    Are you all saying Smith is back as a back-up? Because, I would be okay with that. Otherwise...he was part of a line that couldn't block for crap until he and a few others were out of the line-up due to injury...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Are you all saying Smith is back as a back-up? Because, I would be okay with that. Otherwise...he was part of a line that couldn't block for crap until he and a few others were out of the line-up due to injury...
    Speaking for myself, yes - I see him as Eric Winston's replacement... a swing guy who can start if needed... but not a "regular" starter. That said, I'm guessing that he and his agent will be looking for starter's money.

  6. #6
    Smith comes back and gives you insurance if you can't otherwise find a RT.

  7. #7
    That's fine, but he shouldn't be signed with the idea that he is starting for this team next year. In a perfect world.

  8. wow - that list is truly underwhelming...

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