I'm probably one of the last members of the CJ group to take a stab at this, and while my list might not differ from the rest too much, it's all about perspective. Instead of a long introduction, I'm going to jump right in with my list.
This section focuses on such restricted "never happens" like Brandon Marshall, Owen Daniels and Miles Austin. It's safe to say just about every Bengals follower out there would welcome players of this stature. That being said, these same followers have a good idea the team owner isn't the type to go after expensive pieces like that.
With that in mind, there's really no point in continuing here, because it's like being dead broke and window shopping in Beverly Hills. However, I should probably list a few others, just to make mouths water even more:
Vincent Jackson (Obviously)
Braylon Edwards (PSYCHE!!!!!!!!!)
Elvis Dumervil (Pass rushers never go out of style)
Antoine Bethea (Why not get one of the better safeties out there?)
OK, are you sufficiently disappointed? Let's move on to the realistic side of things:
Besides Daniels, there's not a tight end worth going after as a free agent signing, save perhaps Ben Watson. In fact, Watson is the only tight end to make NFL.com's Top 50 Free Agents list. With that, it looks like the upcoming draft needs to yield a tight end who's capable of playing as a rookie.
Before I continue, my post is going to focus on restocking what I thought was the Bengals biggest failing: Offensive skill positions. Sure, another pass rusher will always be welcome, as will a in-the-trenches style of offensive lineman. Unfortunately, these positions are quite as sexy as the touchdown makers, so I'm focusing on the sexy side of free agency.
One player I keep stumbling upon is Antonio Bryant. While Bryant was injured last season, his 2008-09 season was incredibly productive (83 catches, 1200-plus yards, seven touchdowns). Considering the Bengals distinct lack of depth at the wide receiver position, couple with Bryant's ability to play well with a decent quarterback (Jeff Garcia was his quarterback for the majority of the season), it would be worth seeing if he could play well with Carson Palmer.
A one-season tryout with a player of Bryant's potential could be quite rewarding.
Unfortunately, besides Bryant, the only other receivers on the top 50 list are Terrell Owens (been there, said no) and Muhsin Muhammad. Sorry. No.
Another name of interest in the wide receiver group is Kevin Walter, who has the ability to be a nice possession receiver, something Laveranues Coles couldn't adapt to. However, if Walter happens to be a target, I can only hope the Bengals are getting the one who put 900 yards and eight touchdowns on the board in support of Andre Johnson.
Walter was hobbled by injuries last season and wasn't as effective as his 2008 campaign.
Because the Bengals are set at running back -- you have no idea how weird that feels to type -- the group I just listed are about the only skill position players who would help the Bengals. Sure, having a player like Brian Westbrook would be a nice addition, but is he a necessity?
On the defensive side, besides steady, effective pass rushers, I keep hearing about how the Bengals need safeties. With that in mind, one player to make the Top 50 might serve Cincinnati well: Darren Sharper.
Sure, Sharper is a little older, but it's hard to find a player who could lead the defensive secondary like Sharper is capable of doing. Antrel Rolle is also available as a free agent safety, but once again, does anyone following the Bengals see Mike Brown laying down the kind of money it would take to sign either of these two?
That's it. That's my list. Kind of underwhelming, isn't it?
Did I omit somebody? Of course I did, but it wasn't anything personal. Again, I simply focused on positions that would help the Bengals score more points. For once in my life, I'm not entirely worried about the defense -- not sure how to feel about that -- and if they can put just a few more points on the board, who knows where this team could wind up in the postseason?
Yes, our defense was that good last season. Let's hope it stays that way.
Oh, before I close, a consistent place-kicker and a dependable long snapper would be absolutely keen.