We know it's entirely too early to examine the 2013 Cincinnati Bengals, especially since the NFL draft will inflate much of the team's roster with four-year contracts through the 2015 season. However we've had readers and commenters ponder how this roster will look in 2013, mostly due to predictive analysis of the team's draft plans for the 2012 NFL Draft. Since we were asked to check it out by our faithful, we decided that it would be, at the very least, interesting.
Currently the Bengals have 26 players (perhaps 27 based on language of Keith Rivers' contract) signed through the 2013 season. Further down the road than that, there's 14 players signed into the 2014 season. But that's getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Now here's a listing of players signed through the 2013 season.
Quarterback (1): Andy Dalton signed a four-year deal, of which enters the third season in 2013. Bruce Gradkowski only signed a two-year deal, which expires after the 2012 season and Zac Robinson's current contract only applies to this offseason.
Running Back (1): BenJarvus Green-Ellis' contract extends through the 2014 season, with Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman entering 2012 as the final season under contract. Aaron Brown is under a future's contract.
Full Back (1): Chris Pressley signed a two-year contract as a restricted free agent on March 7, sealing him through the 2013 season.
Wide Receiver (4): In a sense the Bengals have some long-term stability at wide receiver, with A.J. Green and Ryan Whalen signed through the 2014 season. Jordan Shipley and Armon Binns are signed through 2013 with Andrew Hawkins and Brandon Tate entering the final year's with their respective deals.
Tight End (2): Both Jermaine Gresham and Colin Cochart are signed through 2013, with Gresham's five-year deal expiring after the 2014 season.
Center (1): Kyle Cook signed a five-year deal in early September 2011, which extends through the 2015 season.
Guard (2): Free agent acquisition Travelle Wharton and Clint Boling are both signed through the 2014 season. Otis Hudson, the team's third guard signed in 2012, is entering the final year with a base salary of $465,000.
Tackle (2): With Anthony Collins signing a two-year deal and Andrew Whitworth signed through the 2015 season, the Bengals already have two tackles signed for 2013. Andre Smith is entering the final year under contract while Matthew O'Donnell is on the offseason roster.
Defensive End (2): Carlos Dunlap's four-year rookie contract expires after the 2013 season, as does free agent acquisition Jamaal Anderson. Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers and Derrick Harvey are entering the final year under contract.
Defensive Tackle (2): Domata Peko's contract extends through 2014 with Geno Atkins' four-year rookie contract expiring after the 2013 season.
Linebacker (2 or 3): Currently the Bengals have Roddrick Muckelroy and Dontay Moch as the only signed linebackers heading into the 2013 season, with seven existing contracts set to expire after this season. Keith Rivers is a bit fluid, as he's signed through 2013, but there's a clause that could get Cincinnati out of that final year, making him a free agent after 2012.
Cornerback (3): Jason Allen signed a two-year deal worth $8.2 million during free agency, giving Cincinnati three cornerbacks into the 2013 season (Leon Hall, Brandon Ghee). Nate Clements, Adam Jones and Rico Murray have expiring contracts after this season.
Safety (3): Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays and Robert Sands are your safeties signed through 2013, with Chris Crocker entering the final year of a four-year contract given to him after the 2008 season.
Special Teams (0): Mike Nugent will be playing on a one-year franchise tag, while Kevin Huber's four-year contract expires after 2012. Thomas Weber is signed to an offseason contract with Clark Harris tendered a one-year contract. As of this posting, the Bengals have no kickers or long snappers signed beyond 2012.