If you're not somewhat enthused about where this team appears to be headed, there might be something wrong with you. At least that's the feeling we get everytime we look at what's happened this year -- along with a growing suspicion (from me) that the front office continues to undergo a quiet shift where more people have added weight to the decision-making process.
Much like an unsettling panic that becomes a byproduct of helplessness, there was momentary concern during free agency when the Cincinnati Bengals didn't make as much as a peep. It wasn't until the first Saturday after the March 13 kickoff to the new league year that the Bengals finally made their first moves, signing probable starting left guard Travelle Wharton.
Then the proverbial flood gates were unleashed, beginning with the return of starting free safety Reggie Nelson while stocking the shelves in the secondary with cornerbacks Jason Allen, Terence Newman and Adam Jones. Former first-rounder defensive linemen? Come on board, Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson. Pat Sims and Anthony Collins, two crucial backup/role players, return, as does starting weakside linebacker Manny Lawson. Eventually the Bengals signed their Cedric Benson replacement in BenJarvus Green-Ellis. And along the way the Bengals released defensive backs Rico Murray and Chris Crocker, while trading linebacker Keith Rivers to the New York Giants after word surfaced that player and team were in conflict regarding which injury list that should be applied.
A list of what the Bengals have done at this point during the offseason.
SIGNED: OG Travelle Wharton, CB Jason Allen, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, DE Derrick Harvey, DE Jamaal Anderson, OG Jacob Bell, CB Terence Newman
RETURNED: DB Reggie Nelson, CB Adam Jones, OT Anthony Collins, DT Pat Sims, OLB Manny Lawson, OT Dennis Roland, TE Donald Lee, LB Dan Skuta, LS Clark Harris, DB Jeromy Miles, K Mike Nugent
DEPARTED: Chris Crocker (released), Rico Murray (released), DE Jonathan Fanene (Patriots), DE Frostee Rucker (Browns), OG Nate Livings (Cowboys), WR Andre Caldwell (Broncos), OG Mike McGlynn (Colts), WR Jerome Simpson (Vikings)
DRAFTED: CB Dre Kirkpatrick, OG Kevin Zeitler, DT Devon Still, WR Mohamed Sanu, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Orson Charles, CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin Jones, FS George Iloka, RB Dan Herron
UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS: OL Trevor Robinson, C Ben Bojicic, CB Derrius Brooks, LB Vontaze Burfict, LS Bryce Davis, LB Brandon Joiner, WR Kashif Moore, OL Mike Ryan, OT Landon Walker, RB Rodney Stewart, WR Taveon Rogers, DE Julian Miller, LB Grant Hunter, WR Justin Hilton, QB Tyler Hansen