Here's a list of the Bengals 2012 Free Agents and what I would do, if I was playing GM:).
1. Reggie Nelson, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $1.6M and I think you are going to need to up the antee to bring him back. I'd guess around $2.5 M a year would do the trick and that would be about a $900,000 raise & cap hit. + 900,000
2. Bobbie Williams, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $2.6M and I think you could bring him back for less, I'd offer him 2 years $3M, which would be around $1.5M a year and you would save $1.1M/year on the cap. - $1.1M
3. Cedric Benson, Let him walk, he is currently making $3M this year. A rookie drafted in one of the top 3 rounds would save us money with the new CBA, and would probably be an upgrade at the position. - $3M
4. Jerome Simpson, As much as he drives me crazy, I'd try to resign him just based on his talent alone. He is currently making around $926,000 and I think you could bring him back for about $1 million a year, which would only be a modest raise and would not break the bank. +$74,000/year (this signing is pending on the legal issues. of course)
5. Manny Lawson, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $3M this year and I think you could bring him back for slightly less on a multiple year deal (3 years). I'd offer him 2.5M a year and it would save us $500,000 a year. - $500,000
6. Frostee Rucker, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $1.25M and I think you could bring him back for about $2M a year (3 year deal), which would be about $750,000 raise. + $750,000/year
7. Andre Caldwell, Let him walk, he's only making $555,000 and is still pretty cheap but at this point he's just taking up a roster spot. - $555,000
8. Pat Sims, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $1.4M and I think you could bring him back for about $3M a year, which would be a $1.6M raise. + $1.6M
9. Mike McGlynn, I'd try to resign him, he is currently making around $675,000 a year. I would only bring him back for o-line depth and it would be at the same salary, no adjustment. =
10. Anthony Collins, I'd try to resign him, he's currently making $675,000 a year. I think you probably need to get him to $1.5m a year to even have a chance of him staying, which would be about a $825,000 raise. + $825,000
11. Brandon Johnson, I'd try to resign him, he's currently making $1.75M a year. I think you are going to need to get him to around $2.75M to keep him around, which would be a $1M raise. + $1M
12. Adam Jones, Even after his melt down against the Texans, I'd try to resign him. He's currently making around $640,000 this year, so your are going to have to up his salary, I think you probably need to get to around $2.5M a year to keep him, which would be a $1.9M raise. + $1.9M
13 Donald Lee, I'd let him walk he's making an undisclosed amount of money but he's a veteran whose been around for a while so I would estimate that he's making around $1M. - $1M.
14. Gibril Wilson, I'd let him walk he's making an undisclosed amount of money but he's a veteran whose been around a while so I would estimate that he's making around $1.5M. - $1.5M
15. Mike Nugent, I'd try to resign him, he's currently making around $640,000 and I think we could bring him back for around $1M, which would be a $360,000 raise. + $360,000
16. Johnathon Fanene, I've been convinced to try and resign him. He's making an undisclosed amount of money but he's a veteran whose been around a while so I would estimate that he's making around $2.5M and I'd try to keep him for around that number just on another multiple year deal (2-3 year deal), which should have no cap adjustment. =
17. Dennis Roland, I'd let him walk he's making an undisclosed amount of money, I would estimate that it's around $600,000. - $600,000
18. Kelly Jennings, I'd let him walk, he is currently making $1.85M and even though his play has improved slightly, IMO we could still bring in a way better corner through the draft. - $1.85M
19. Nate Livings, I'd let him walk, he's making an undisclosed amount of money and I would estimate that it's around $600,000. - $600,000
20. Bo Scaife, He's old and has been injured all year. He cost us 1M this year so that's another 1M of the books. -1M
Note: Chris Crocker is due make about $1.75 million next year, Keith Rivers is due to make about 2.2 million dollars next year and Brandon Tate is due make an undisclosed amount of money next year. All these guys can be cut and/or traded if necessary or possible, which would free up about another 4 to 5 million dollars annually if they are cut.
For LB depth, we still have Roderick Muckelroy (whose on IR) coming back next year, along with Donte Moch who will hopefully be healthy for an entire season. An then we have DeQuinn Evans whose also on IR sitting down there on the practice squad, he can also add depth to the position.
At return man, if we bring back pacman he can take over the punt return duties because he will thrown back into a less vital role on defense. We also will have Shipley coming back (he can back up Pacman on punt returns)and we have Hawkins or Scott who can return kick offs to replace Tate.
1. Play Mays and/or Sands
2. Draft a Strong Safety in one of the top 2 rounds
3. Draft a top CB, and assuming Leon comes back healthy and we resign Pacman, we could have these two (Leon and Pacman) be the starting CBs, slide our draft pick into the 3rd CB position and move Clements over into Crocker's role at SS.
When you break it down we are going to be adding about 7 million dollars annually to the salary cap just by doing what I believe it will take to retain our own guys (at least the guys I want us to keep). Now having said that, we will also be trimming about 12 million off the books by letting the other guys (the ones I don't want us to keep) walk in free agency. (Keep in mind this does not include the money it will take to replace the guys we let walk. With the new CBA and all of our draft picks in this upcoming draft, this should still be a doable proposition).
Based on the final numbers, I do not think it should be out of the question for us to go out aggressively in the free agent market and go after a top rated guard, a 2nd WR to play opposite AJ, and maybe a veteran CB. My top priority would be a guard and I would go hard for Nicks or Grubbs. As for a veteran CB, I'd go after Cortland Finnegan or Calros Rogers and for a #2 WR, which should be the easiest to obtain I would target Colston, Meachum, or Garcon. Even though we have Shipley coming back it would be cool to have one more veteran piece at that position.
Also, I know a lot of people on here like Michael Bush (Oakland) for a RB, but IMO I think we should address the RB position through the draft.
FYI - these next guys are restricted FA and none of them are high priced guys we really need to worry about losing at this point, therefore I have not included them in the numbers game.
It appears, we have a general consensus that our positions of need are Guard, CB, RB, and SS. Hopefully with the extra money and the extra picks from the Carson trade, we will be able to address all these deficiencies during the off season and be on our way to the Superbowl at this time next season year!!!
Assuming we are able to sign our own. My dream off season, (one that actually could be realistic) would consist of us signing,
Ben Grubbs - 5 years 35 million dollars - 7m a year.
Robert Meachum - 5 years 15 million - 3m a year
#17 Dre Kirkpatric CB
#21 Mark Barron SS
David Wilson RB
Kelechi Osmelle Guard
Orson Charles TE
Josh Robinson CB
* Pick the best player available the rest of the way down the board.
Next years roster
RB - David Wilson, Benard Scott, Cedric Peerman
FB - Chris Pressley, Brian Leonard
TE - Jeramin Gresham, Colin Cochart, Orson Charles
Guard - Ben Grubbs, Bobby Williams, Kelechi Osmelle, Clint Boling, Mike Mcglynn, Ottis Hudson
Tackle - Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Dennis Roland
Free safety - Reggie Nelson, Jeromey Miles
Strong Safety - Mark Barron, Taylor Mays, Robert Sands