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Clark Judge: Cincinnati Bengals Are Free Agency Winners

Interestingly enough, some observers are giving Cincinnati credit for re-signing many of their own players while division rivals have lost theirs.

Al Messerschmidt

While reviewing free agency that began earlier this month, Clark Judge with CBSSports.com calls Cincinnati one of the biggest winners for free agency. But, what? Quarterback Josh Johnson is the only non-Bengals free agent that's agreed to terms. How is that possible?

Simply stated. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have lost... a lot.

But let's start with Cincinnati. The Bengals reached the playoffs the past two seasons -- but made it there as a wild card. Someone was always in the way, and in 2011 it was Baltimore and Pittsburgh. A year later it was the Ravens. Anyway, the Bengals had to do something to close the gap.

And they did. They waited.

Since Super Bowl XLVII, Baltimore lost seven starters (eight, if you include Paul Kruger) and Pittsburgh subtracted five. And the Steelers aren't expected to re-sign free-agents Casey Hampton and Max Starks, which would push their total to seven.

Do the math. That means Baltimore and Pittsburgh lose one-third of their starters from last year.

Don't tell me that won't have an impact on Cincinnati because it will.

Judge continues:

Not Baltimore and Pittsburgh, which is why Cincinnati suddenly is in a good place. Over the last three seasons, the Bengals are 3-9 vs. the Ravens and Steelers. Over the last seven, they have just one division title. But they'll be the favorite now, not so much because of what they've done in the offseason as what they haven't.

ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley equally called Cincinnati free agency winners, largely for re-signing most of their own. During Jason's poll from Friday, 64 percent of the voters at Cincy Jungle agreed. The Bengals have been winners during free agency.

Unfortunately, the only value for March trophies are paper weights and giving something for the maid to dust each week.