As the Bengals head into the offseason, the team once again is well-positioned relative to the salary cap. There 48 players already under contract with a total cap value of $75,900,000 (includes dead money for players cut in 2012). There are 3 players tied to the club due to restricted free agent status: WR Andrew Hawkins (EFA, $555,000), S Jeromy Miles (RFA, $1,323,000 tender ROFR) and LB Vincent Rey (RFA, $1,323,000 tender ROFR). That is a total of 51 players with a total cap room of $51,899,000, which is the most in the NFL as of today. Expect that figure to rise once the contract escalators become official (Dunlap, Atkins, Peko, Whitworth are all eligible).
The Bengals are net one additional draft pick (+ 2nd round for Palmer, + 6th round for Chad Johnson and - 7th for Taylor Mays). That means 8 more players added to the team through the draft.
There could be one new starter on offense and up to five on defense, however some players will certainly be resigned. Beyond our free agents, I full expect some players entering their final year to receive contract extensions given the cap room we have (Dunlap and Atkins).
Management has the luxury of being as aggressive as it wants to be this offseason while still positioning themselves for flexibility in future years. We'll see how things shake out...