Bengals priorities are Mike Pollak and Brandon Tate

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Look at Bengals heading to free agency this March, Mike Pollak and Brandon Tate are priority behind Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins and the team's handful of restricted free agents.

Excluding restricted free agents (because they can't leave unless another team signs them to an offer sheet -- and who can project such things) and Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins, Cincinnati's free agent priorities appear to be backup offensive guard Mike Pollak and return specialist Brandon Tate, according to Bengals.com. Take note that the discussion is about current Bengals heading into free agency (not free agents from other teams).

Both make sense.

Tate's 26.1 yard/return average on kickoff returns ranked sixth among players with 30 or more returns in the NFL. It was also the second-best average in a single season in franchise history -- Tremain Mack averaged 27.10 in '99. Tate is averaging 24.8 yards per kickoff return in his Bengals career, leading all franchise returners, including Lemar Parrish, who is second with a 24.66 yard/return average. Tate's career 9.87 yard/return average on punt returns also ranks third in franchise history.

Pollak did quality work as a backup when Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling suffered their respective injuries. In 194 pass blocks, Pollak allowed one sack, three hits and two hurries grading favorably as a pass blocker. His run block left some to be desired but the quality of work he offered as a backup creates the argument of quality roster depth. When Zeitler and Boling, both starters on Cincinnati offensive line, suffered injuries, the Bengals weren't forced to deal with the proverbial setback due to Pollak's performance.

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