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Reasoning Why The Cincinnati Bengals Don't Play Big During The First Day Of Free Agency

The Bengals have more money available than twice the United States Gross Domestic Product. How in the world haven't they signed every freeling free agent available in the past 24 hours? GAWD! These are concerning questions from Bengals fans demanding nothing short of 22 Hall of Fame-caliber starters throughout the entire roster. Alright so we're over-dramatizing it. But just a little bit.

Unlike the Cincinnati Bengals, whose sporting an incredible foundation of young talented players that may need an injection of talent around them, franchises like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins, teams with a significant lesser foundation of youth, are going all in while the Bengals are passively observing. Most with the patience to wait this process out in recent years (aka, since Daniel Snyder became owner of the Redskins) are at least withholding judgment to let the process sort itself out.

By why are they observing? Is it about principle, not overpaying for players that are currently being overpaid (did you see what Eric Wright signed)? Maybe not so much.

Save for the fact that the Bengals have to account for a rookie pool, money needed for injuries during the season, as well as money assigned to Mike Nugent's franchise tag and Cincinnati's free agents they've already re-signed (RFA, ERFA), Cincinnati still has to keep an eye on their own players with expiring contracts in upcoming seasons. And since the contracts being signed in the past 24 hours would highly impact the team's overall payroll during the life of the contract (more than four seasons in most cases with huge cap numbers on the back-end), it would hurt the team's chances to re-sign their own -- and we're talking about players they want to bring back.

Free agents after the 2013 season.

Andre Smith Has only played 27 games in three seasons. Yet he put together his best season in 2011, showing that he's finally "getting it".
Bernard Scott 45 games played, mostly as a backup to Cedric Benson. Expected to be a significant contributor on offense in 2012.
Mike Nugent Converted 33 of 38 field goals in 2011, labeled with the franchise tag with expectations (from me) that a long-term deal could be done during the offseason.
Rey Maualuga 44 games played with two quarterback sacks, three interceptions and six forced fumbles.
Brian Leonard Productive third-down back and special teams player with 38 games played in Cincinnati.
Michael Johnson Career-year in 2011 with six quarterback sacks, interception and forced fumble. Finished second on the defensive-line with 728 defensive snaps.
Kevin Huber Team's primary punter, posting his best net and gross averages in 2011.
Thomas Howard Arguably the team's best linebacker, a free agent acquisition in 2011.
Nate Clements Played 15 games during his first season with Cincinnati, generating two interceptions and two forced fumbles, as well as a quarterback sack. Unlikely to be re-signed after 2012 if the Bengals draft a prospect cornerback next month.

Free agents after the 2014 season.

Geno Atkins If you need a reason why he should be re-signed, get a subscription to NFL Rewind and watch one game.
Carlos Dunlap See Above
Jordan Shipley He's obviously Wes Welker reincarnated.
Keith Rivers Could be released well before his contract expires, depending on his rehabilitation after missing the entire 2011 season.
Chris Pressley Recently signed a two-year deal as a restricted free agent.

Free agents after the 2015 season.

  • Andy Dalton
  • A.J. Green
  • Jermaine Gresham
  • Domata Peko
  • Robert Sands
  • Clint Boling