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Filling the Holes -- How do the Free Agents Stack Up?

Joe Reedy, the Cincinnati Enquirer's new Bengals beat writer, posted the list of Bengals free agents today.  3 weeks to go until free agency officially kicks off.

Scouts Inc. has the free agents ranked.  I am going to stop writing about TJ because I think it is obvious he is not staying so the Bengals need to tag him as the "Franchise" player or we all need to forget about him and move on.

With respect to the Bengals' Outside Linebackers, the Bengals should try to retain Jeanty.  I think Blackstock is strictly a special teams player and can be easily replaced.  In addition, there are some good free agent linebackers who could help the Bengals. Terrell Suggs, Karlos Dansby, Bart Scott all could help.  Poaching from the Ravens also has the added benefit of addition by subtraction. 

Shayne Graham is ranked second among kickers.  If Shayne can't be re-signed, Mike Nugent and Rob Bironas are out there looking for a team.  I hope they can keep Graham. For the most part, he is a very dependable kicker.

The Lions' Dan Orlovsky would be an upgrade for the Bengals as a backup QB.   The Pride of the Ivy League, Ryan Fitzpatrick is ranked dead last (19th) in the free agent QB rankings.  I still can't believe the Bengals actually had to trade for him.

Ravens' Center Jason Brown from would also be a nice addition and fill a serious need on the O-line.  Matt Birk is more seasoned and could be a stop gap solution for a season or two if we are unable to draft someone who is more capable than the hapless Eric Ghiaciuc (which, I candidly admit, seems impossible). 

I really hope the Bengals can re-sign Chris Crocker and I still love John Thornton -- he is a clubhouse leader and we need that.  Plus, he blogs. That is really cool.

I still can't make up my mind about Cedric Benson but I suppose the Bengals should make a bona fide effort to sign him.  Who else is going to play. Chris Perry? Like Kirkendall, I think they should throw some bucks at Dorsey to stay.    

Chris Steuber of Scouts Inc. revised his mock draft again and has the Bengals taking Florida State DE Everette Brown.  I don't really understand this.  Brown is listed much lower in other "experts" mock drafts.  Mel Kiper has him going 15th to Houston.  I don't know if Steuber has seen  the Bengals play but they really can't justify getting anything but a top-flight offensive tackle with their first round pick. 

I can't remember a year where the Bengals' needs have been so obvious - offensive tackle, center, linebacker, running back, and a better backup QB. 

And, by the way, would it be too much to ask that the Bengals hire a GM?