2012 NFL Free Agency: ESPN Hands Out AFC North Offseason Grades

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to follow the block of Travelle Wharton #70 during second quarter action against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

Yesterday, we posted the offseason grades from Scouts, Inc. and ESPN In$ider writer, Matt Williamson. For their efforts in the 2012 offseason, Williamson gave the Bengals a "B-", citing solid moves that occurred after a slow start and no big names being landed. It seems as if that's kind of the general consensus among Bengals fans and critics alike.

Jamison Hensley, ESPN's AFC North blogger, gave out his grades for the division as well today, while comparing his grades against Williamson's.

Hensley was a bit more generous with the Bengals than Williamson, giving the the team a solid "B". Hensley writes:

Hensley's grade: B. The Bengals upgraded at running back and left guard while bringing back their top free-agent priority in safety Reggie Nelson. The biggest knock against the Bengals is they didn't make a splash by signing a high-profile free agent like guard Ben Grubbs or wide receiver Robert Meachem.

Sound familiar? While it gets old to hear, there is a bit of truth to the sentiment. If the Bengals were to add rotational depth by adding Terence Newman at cornerback and Amobi Okoye at defensive tackle, respectively, the offseason would be a relative success and could be bumped up to pushing the "A-" range.

As for the other divisional teams, Hensley blasts the Browns, giving them a "C", even though they added defensive line help in Frostee Rucker and Juqua Parker. He also gave the Steelers and Ravens a "D", largely because of their inactivity in free agency and their personnel losses heavily outweighing their gains. It was expected that the Steelers would be inactive because of their salary cap troubles and aging veteran roster.

So, for those of you were hoping for a bigger offseason from the Bengals, take solace in the fact that most experts have graded the team pretty far ahead of their division rivals.

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