Pat Sims set to hit NFL Free Agency Again

Jared Wickerham

Should the Bengals show interest in the former third-round pick out of Auburn, who spent his first five years in the NFL in Cincinnati?

When the Bengals let defensive tackle Pat Sims walk in free agency last year, they thought Devon Still and Brandon Thompson would be more than enough to account for his loss. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn in 2008, Sims was mostly a situational run-stuffer in Cincinnati. He started a combined nine games in his previous three NFL seasons.

But after inking a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Oakland Raiders last year, Sims went on to have a career year, starting 16 games and finishing with 54 tackles (15, including 10 solo in Week 16 vs. San Diego), two sacks and a +14.7 grade from Pro Football Focus. That was the best by any Raider (not saying much) and the 16th-best by a DT who played in at least 50% of his team's snaps.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the Bengals sure could have used defensive tackle Pat Sims this year. The fifth-year pro had four less-than-stellar seasons in Cincinnati , but he was still a serviceable run-stuffer and could have helped prevent the Chargers from gashing the Bengals up the middle repeatedly in their Wild Card playoff loss..

Alas, the Bengals let him walk in free agency, and he wound up signing a modest deal with the Raiders, and now he's set to hit the free agent market again.

Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the 57th-best free agent available this offseason, and one has to wonder if the Bengals may show interest in him as insurance for Geno Atkins as he heals from a torn ACL.

57. Pat Sims, Defensive Tackle

A disappointment in Cincinnati, Sims used his second chance in Oakland to put forward some really strong outings. The concern is about consistency, but he has all the ability to be a better player than what he’s proven to date.

Sims has already said he's open to returning to Oakland, but hasn't ruled out moving on to play for a third team in three seasons.

"I wouldn't mind, but at the same time it's not left up to me," Sims said this offseason. "I can't do anything about that."

Sims has earned a long-term deal that pays him higher than what the Bengals are paying Domata Peko (5 years, $27.77 million), so they theoretically shouldn't be able to afford him.

But if the market is bare for him once again, the Bengals shouldn't hesitate to sign him to a bargain deal and get him back to Cincinnati.

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