Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
The Cincinnati Bengals are notorious for being slow starters in free agency. So while the rest of the NFL eagerly anticipates signings by other teams, don't get anxious about Tuesday.
"Well yeah, I think throughout the thing there's an ongoing process, but I don't have any confirmation that we have any of them signed today," Lewis said, like any other coach or team official before him did. "We're working hard on it and I know there have been some meetings and positive things that have to continue to come. We have a number of guys we have to get re-signed so we'll work very hard at getting that done."
- Marvin Lewis on re-signing their own players.
From the beginning, when amphibians emerged from the oceans and eventually (like a day or so we think) evolved into humans, events would domino into the world we see today. Or at least that's what the History Channel argued, right before the show "Bengals and Free Agency: Why You Should Turn Away On Tuesday."
I've made no bones in the past about my use of history as evidence for expectations. It's not an exact science, but the prediction machine is only as accurate as the information being feed into the device. Hate it, ignore it, absorb it, consider it, whatever. We respect that.
What do we know?
We know that free agency will kickoff at 4 PM (ET) on Tuesday. We know that the NFL community will turn over on itself. We know that 90 percent of the players signed Tuesday probably won't play out those contracts and we know that 100 percent of those signed will probably be overpaid. We know that teams with new administrations and coaching staffs will make several high-profile signings, largely in an effort to sell tickets.
And we know that the Cincinnati Bengals won't be part of it.
Before slamming your desks and envisioning this writer with an Eddard Stark fate, let's review.
Last year free agency started on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Cincinnati signed Travelle Wharton, their first free agency acquisition four days later on March 17. Two days after that, they signed defensive backs Jason Allen and Reggie Nelson. We washed out 2011 due to the NFL lockout (players were allowed agreements in principle prior to signing actual contracts).
Free agency opened on March 5, 2010. The Bengals signed their first free agent, defensive tackle Tank Johnson on March 11 and Antonio Bryant, the first free agent that didn't play for Cincinnati the prior year, on March 12 -- a week after free agency began.
In 2009 free agency opened on February 27:
|February 27||Chris Crocker|
|March 2||Darryl Blackstock|
|March 3||Cedric Benson|
|March 4||Laveranues Coles|
Help me. I'm blinded by all of this bling. They re-signed multiple players during the opening days of free agency, but none of were the big-ticket free agents that many fans crave. In 2008 the date was February 29. They signed Antwan Odom on March 3, Dhani Jones and Kyle Larson the next day and went quiet for an entire week. One of those turned into a damn fine investment. March 2 kicked off free agency in 2007. First signing was five days later, and that was tight end Reggie Kelly. Nine days after that, they signed center Alex Stepanovich.
Things could change. History has no baring on today. This is a different team than those days.
Nor is that really the point.
When the Cincinnati Bengals design a plan, they stick to it. Maddeningly they do. They'll always let the market settle down before mixing it up in free agency. Sometimes that takes 2-3 days, other times it's within a week. Cincinnati will not overpay a player and they won't sign a big name just to satisfy the insatiable free agency thirst that most of us have.
Nope. They have a plan. From the beginning Cincinnati's primary goal has been two-fold. Re-sign players entering free agency and work towards extensions with others. They've already signed Wallace Gilberry, Kevin Huber, Mike Nugent and Cedric Peerman to contracts, solidifying three important components on special teams and a decent pass rusher they acquired off the street last year. They've decided to let the market dictate Andre Smith's value and we've heard that there have been talks with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, as well as Robert Geathers.
Be angry at the Bengals if you want, which has gotten them into the postseason three of the past four years. Be angry at this writer if you choose, who earned the nickname Dreamcrusher by his own writing staff. Either way don't expect much at 4 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals.