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Bengals Likely To Be Hurt During Free Agency Without A General Manager

With the NFL lockout coming to a possible close, the league will unleash a flurry of activity in the coming week or two that the NFL has never seen the likes of. If the tentative schedule that the NFL released holds, then this Saturday (July 23) the Bengals can open their doors, get players into the stadium for conditioning, training and instruction. More importantly, teams can negotiate and sign their own free agents (no matter the designation) to contracts. Waivers also begins -- will Chad Ochocinco and Antwan Geathers receive phone calls?

And later Saturday afternoon, teams can begin negotiating (but not sign) free agent players from other teams and undrafted rookie free agents. On Sunday (July 24), teams can sign undrafted free agents.

At 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, the new league year begins and teams can sign free agents across the board. The Bengals roster expands to a 90-man limit and on the following day, July 28, Bengals players report for training camp.

Now all of this is projected, provided the players union approves the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement Friday afternoon and reforms as an actual union before Wednesday. If that happens, then the schedule the league released Thursday night would likely still apply.

With all of that going on, you have to wonder, how will the Bengals compare to other franchises with strong front offices that employ general managers, assistant general managers and personnel that specifically heads up their own training camps? The same front office that's offered years of empty promises, save for two playoff losses, will be heading up one of the more frantic periods in NFL history. Where the Bengals could be stuck on re-signing one of their own free agents, other teams will be able to multi-task far easier than Cincinnati. Makes you cringe about what could happen in the coming week.