Crazy. As usual like every year around this time, the initial kick to free agency draws comparisons of insanity. Rumors of signatures and interest translates to crickets on follow up reports and often blank canvases for a fan's imagination. Here's a run-down of the Bengals during the first day of free agency:
Robert Geathers: The Bengals reportedly signed Geathers to a three-year deal worth $9.5 million right before the start of free agency.
"Robert brings us not just fine and consistent play, but leadership and experience," said head coach Marvin Lewis in the team's press release. "He’s a big part of our success with his own play, and I know our younger guys have talked about how he’s made them more effective players. We are glad he has chosen to remain a Bengal."
The signing nearly completes one of the team's primary objectives, bringing back the entire defensive line. That leaves defensive tackle Pat Sims as the lone free agent from the defensive line. Though we like Sims, we don't see him returning without a multi-year contract. With Devon Still and Brandon Thompson waiting in the wings, the chances appear extremely limited.
Andre Smith: Separate reports confirmed that the Bengals and Smith's representatives are talking. Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the sides were talking, but the extent of those discussions were unknown. Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network reported on television that the Bengals are working hard to bring Andre Smith back.
According to Aaron Wilson with the Baltimore Sun, the Indianapolis Colts signed Gosder Cherilus to a five-year deal worth $34 million with a $10 million bonus. In our opinion, that would be a good baseline for the Andre Smith, who may command a bit more. We also figure that Eric Winston will be signed before external interest surfaces with Smith. Signing him now prevents negotiations against other teams and keeps the price tag lower.
Rey Maualuga: According to his twitter account, the Bengals soon-to-be-former middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is heading to Arizona for what is believed to be a visit with the Cardinals. Then again he could just be going to Arizona. It's kind of nice this time of year.
There is also a thought that with Dannell Ellerbe leaving for Miami, the Baltimore Ravens could have some interest.
Bruce Gradkowski: With the Bengals backup quarterback visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers soon, it accelerates Cincinnati's need to find a backup solution if he signs with one of the Bengals biggest rivals. Additionally it highlights the team's suspected plan to draft a young quarterback to groom as an eventual backup.
The Running Backs: The Bengals are clearly looking at running backs, having attached their names to players like Rashard Mendenhall, Reggie Bush and Steven Jackson. Cincinnati did host Chris "Beanie" Wells, released earlier this week in Arizona, on Tuesday and will host Mike Goodson on Wednesday.
The Rest: Little has been mentioned of the Bengals remaining free agents, most of whom you could classify as second-tier free agents. Settle down. We're not talking about talent, rather demand. After Andre Smith, Adam Jones appears to be the team's biggest priority. Once the market settles down, figure that the rest of Cincinnati's free agents could be attached with different teams in terms of interest.