Over the weekend we examined the team's roster of safeties, concluding that the team needs a comprehensive rebuilding of the position through the draft for long-term stability and through free agency for immediate impact. This year's draft is "diverse and deep", but unless the Bengals plan to use several draft picks at safety, the team will still need to address the position through free agency.
The Bengals can sign any free agent until March 4, when a lockout from owners is expected to take place.
And there's guys available.
Last week the Indianapolis Colts cut Bob Sanders, after the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year played only nine games in the past three seasons. Durability is obviously a convincing enough concern to wonder if Sanders, who was released from a $37.5 million contract, wouldn't cost more than he's worth. Sanders is visiting the Jaguars on Monday with reports that the Patriots and the Vikings could be landing spots.
The St. Louis Rams also released safety O.J. Atogwe because he was due an $8 million roster bonus on February 21st. In six seasons with the Rams, Atogwe has 22 interceptions, 38 passes defensed and 16 forced fumbles. Even though he's meeting with the Washington Redskins on Monday, the St. Louis Dispatch writes that Atogwe isn't planning on signing with any team before the expected lockout. The Bills are also interested in Atogwe and Sanders.
Another interesting option could be Baltimore safety Haruki Nakamura, who could add depth to the position while improving the overall play of special teams. Nakamura, a restricted free agent, is a native Ohioan that attended the University of Cincinnati.
Aside from other available safeties such as Texans safety Eugene Wilson, the Bengals could bring back Roy Williams and Chinedum Ndukwe to one-year deals.