Around this time of year, endless reels of history are usually toss on a gas-fueled fire-pit. Those electrical impulses misfire when trying to remember how the Bengals have systematically conducted business.
For example, while reading the gloriously insightful and always fact-based internet, one article talks about the top-five free agent cornerbacks that the Bengals could sign. Sure. They could. But offering similar suggestions only promotes the justified conclusion that 1) you don't know the Cincinnati Bengals and 2) you're on a yeoman's quest to generate conversion.
It's why that when a well-known player surfaces as a free agent, we're usually applying our favored grim reaper costume with cut-and-paste responses that summarizes, "he's not coming here." We might want him here, but we know the Bengals. We know their history and no matter how much you idealize today's Bengals, they still resemble a philosophy that's always existed.
The draft? Significantly different -- the base of Cincinnati's core players. Free agency? Save for a role player here, or there, not so much.
Perhaps there's contradiction to that. James Harrison was a big-name signee last year. Yet the contract favored Cincinnati, and save for the locker room vacuum that he may have filled, there wasn't much on-field production this year. It even took away possible contributions from Vincent Rey, who to me, is someone that needs significantly more opportunities for playing time.
The Bengals have a beautiful cap number on a team that's built through the draft. Significant signings would help boost the confidence of a fan base that's lowering their head in disappointment and borderline depression -- and flailing ticket issues. But these are the Bengals. Their historical approach has never supported that belief.
And with how this team has been built over the last 3-4 years, it's the right one.