For players, free agency is an opportunity to receive their market value without a team controlling them for their whole career.
For teams, Free Agency is an opportunity to rectify inept drafting by paying for good players who they missed on in the draft. It is also a chance to fill any 'needs' before the draft starts up so that the team is not handcuffed drafting for "need".
In Free Agency, you are going to lose some players, and you are going to gain some players. The teams who "get" free agency, are the ones who really do well - they add more than they lose, and at a good value.
So with this in mind, what did the Bengals do in Free Agency in 2012?
|DE Frostee Rucker|
|DE Jonathan Fanene|
|WR Andre Caldwell|
|WR Jerome Simpson|
|LG Nate Livings|
|RG Mike McGlynn|
|LB Brandon Johnson|
|CB Kelly Jennings|
|S Gibril Wilson|
|RG Bobbie Williams|
They lost starters in Bobbie, Livings and Simpson, with their top rotating backups in Caldwell, Fanene, Rucker, and Jennings.
|RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis|
|CB Terence Newman|
|CB Jason Allen|
|LG Travelle Wharton|
|DE Derrick Harvey|
|DE Jamal Anderson|
|RB Aaron Brown|
They added 2 guys who were solid starters BJGE and Newman. And a cast of other guys who really did nothing.
Some of their biggest needs (Safety, RG, WR2, DL, backup QB) were totally ignored in Free Agency.
D-Line was technically addressed, but with 2 guys who weren't any good.
The Bengals did not gain more than they lost in Free Agency, and it's debatable whether they broke even.
So, looking at 2013, have the Bengals turned things around in Free Agency?
|K Josh Brown|
|QB Bruce Gradkowski|
|DT Pat Sims|
|LB Dan Skuta|
They lost the healthier of their 2 kickers, their run-stuffing DT, and a special teams player - losses that can be overcome.
|QB Josh Johnson|
The Bengals have failed to address any of their biggest needs in free agency (WR2, SAM, Safety, RBBC)
They essentially changed backup QB's, and lost a few other players.
So it seems that the Bengals again have failed to improve in Free Agency, opting rather to complacently stay with their team that is a "playoff contender", but far from a "playoff lock" or a team that is poised to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.
I suppose after what Mike Brown did to this team in the 1990's, being a team that merely competes for a final playoff spot is acceptable to the Bengals franchise, as evidenced by their 2012 and 2013 Free Agent activity?