How the Cincinnati Bengals can spend $27 Million

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the initial wave of free agency over and the Bengals sitting idle, the Bengals should use their pile of greenbacks to lock up their young talent before they can test the market.

With so much money to spend and so few quality free agents left on the market, the Bengals would be best served focusing on the players already in their locker room, most notably Vontaze Burfict and AJ Green.

Burfict has to be - dollar for dollar - the best deal in the NFL. Still on his undrafted rookie deal, Burfict will make $570k in 2014 and has a prorated $334 bonus...you read that correctly, $334. Chances are, 90% of the folks reading this have a yearly bonus which exceeds Burfict's and there is a 100% chance that no one reading this can play linebacker at the level of Burfict.

The Bengals could let Burfict play out his deal at his bargain price, but why? He has been a Pro Bowl player on the field and a model citizen off it. He has earned a pay increase. Rather than let him hit the market next year, the Bengals would be best served locking him up for the foreseeable future and doing so now may save them some money in the long run.

Like Burfict, the Bengals don't have to pay Green now - he has one year left on his rookie deal and a club option for 2015 (plus a possible franchise tag in 2016). But, like Burfict, why let it get to that? Green has proven to be one of the best wide receivers in the game and the longer they wait to pay him as such, the higher that price is going to go.

Once they are taken care of, there should be only enough cap space left to sign draft picks and undrafted free agents, as well as emergency signings to replace injured players in training camp and the regular season.

Locking Burfict and Green up now makes good football sense, good financial sense and shows fans that the organization is serious about locking up their young talent and building around this core.

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