The Bengals off-season is slowly coming together. The recent signings of defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson, along with the re-signing of Pat Sims, have certainly positively affected many fans outlook on the off-season. There are still players from last years Bengal team that remain unsigned. The current unsigned free agents are, in no particular order, Manny Lawson, Kelly Jennings, Jeromy Miles, Vincent Rey, Dennis Roland, Bo Scaife, Jerome Simpson, Donald Lee, Brandon Johnson, Bobbie Williams, and Gibril Wilson. The question is, who do you want back the most?
Manny Lawson will likely be pretty high in this poll. Lawson has been drawing interest from a few different teams over the recent days, but has yet to sign a contract. Lawson did not make too many impact plays last season, but he is fast and athletic, making him a good fit for strongside linebacker, as he often has to cover the tight end.It is unlikely that Kelly Jennings will be brought back, especially with the recent signings of Jason Allen and Adam Jones. The Bengals will likely draft a corner somewhere in the draft, but there is too much depth to worry about Jennings at this point.
Jeromy Miles should be brought back by the Bengals. He does not play much safety, but he lead the team in special team tackles last season. Marvin Lewis stresses special teams, so it would make sense to see Miles back in 2012. Linebacker Vincent Rey is in the same boat as Miles. He could be brought back based on his special teams skills. *Edit- The Bengals have already re-signed Vincent Rey.
Veteran linebacker Brandon Johnson is also a guy that should be brought back if possible. Johnson can fill in at every spot at the linebacker position and also does a good job on special teams. Safety Gibril Wilson was fourth on the team in special teams tackles last season and also played a little bit in the nickel defense.
Dennis Roland could probably be brought back at a reasonable price. Anthony Collins was recently re-signed to be the offensive lines ultimate back up at the tackle position, but Roland could be brought back for depth. Roland would often come in when offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wanted there to be another eligible tight end in the formation.
The Bengals flirted with Bears tight end Kellen Davis and newly signed Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen, but were not able to sign either. With free agent options running thin, the Bengals should be able to bring back either Bo Scaife or Donald Lee. Scaife got hurt in the pre-season last year, so him coming back would depend on how his recovery is going. Lee has had a solid career and is probably the most likely candidate to be the number two tight end next season, competing with Colin Cochart. Another possibility would be to select Stanford's Coby Fleener in the first round. That is unlikely, but certainly something to think about.
Veteran guard Bobbie Williams broke his ankle in December last season, but he could possibly be brought back as depth on the line. Travelle Wharton will likely start at left guard, but the Bengals do not have much experience at right guard on their roster. Clint Boling and Otis Hudson would likely battle it out for the starting spot if the season were to begin now. Most of us are hoping that David DeCastro drops to the Bengals in April, but if he is not available, Bobbie Williams would provide a veteran leader at right guard. Plus, having insurance for Boling or Hudson would not hurt.
The most controversial player on this list is receiver Jerome Simpson. The Bengals have yet to address the need for a number two wide receiver in this off-season. With free agent options running thin, the Bengals could bring back the talented but raw receiver. Cincinnati could be searching for another option at the number two spot in the draft. Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, Baylor's Kendall Wright, Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, and Rutgers receiver Mohammed Sanu are all candidates to take over Simpson's spot next season.
Bengal fans, which of these players would you like back the most next season?