If you asked a Bengals fan what he thought of Cincinnati's free agency two days after the new league year, you'll probably get a rant that would make R. Lee Ermey boost with pride that his legacy will last long after his passing. Ask a Bengals fan the same question not two weeks later and there's a sense of acceptance. Not for what they didn't do, rather becoming resolved to make moves that brought many of their role players back into the fold, like Adam Jones, Anthony Collins, Pat Sims, (supposedly) Manny Lawson, alongside Reggie Nelson.
And then there's the chance Cincinnati is taking with former first-round busts, like Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson, both of whom represent a high-reward but low risk opportunity for Mike Zimmer and Jay Hayes, grooming their already disappointing careers into something worthy of staying power.
All of which has greatly helped the Bengals establish some short-term solution ideas through free agency while maintaining long-term visions by drafting their eventual top-end talent.
But with that talent is the eventual discussions into extensions and in some cases, departures.
Though players like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have time before extensions need to be discussed, guys like Geno Atkins, Jordan Shipley and Carlos Dunlap will become free agents after the 2013 season. Sure that seems like a long time, but Cincinnati will want to get both signed to extensions during next year's offseason.
And the Bengals front office knows that their younger players will command serious coin when their due for an extension.
"We're very aware of that," Brown said of the young players. "Next time when you look at what is published as the league cap figures, you might want to keep that in mind. We're aware of that, too. You can't sign a player you drafted the first two years you have him by league rules, but there is going to come a time when we're going to want to sign them and we're going to want to be able to sign them. So it's part of our thinking."
Other free agents after the 2013 season includes Keith Rivers, Jason Allen, Armon Binns, Colin Cochart, Brandon Ghee, Roddrick Muckelroy and Chris Pressley.