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Bengals Bacon: Dusting Off The Expired Personnel Files

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The Cincinnati Bengals have several former players entering free agency. We take a look at some of the more recent players.


+ The San Diego Chargers released former Bengals first-round pick linebacker Takeo Spikes on Thursday, who was scheduled to make $3 million next season. Spikes wrote a tweet that hinted he's looking to play next season, extending into a 16th year that's so far generated 219 career games, 1,423 tackles, 29 quarterback sacks, 19 interceptions and 15 forced fumbles.

So we asked on Twitter:

We're not proposing anything by any means -- just sourcing a discussion for followers that we thought to include on the site itself. And if you're not following me, then you're not a real Bengals fan.

Unrelated but totally an awesome segue: For those of you experiencing our little end of the world for the first time, every so often we glance around at former Bengals players to see what they're up to. Obviously there's more interest among those that offered significant contributions during their time in Cincinnati than others -- anyone want a Tony Stewart update? Players like Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson tend to receive the most attention for obvious reasons. It's alright if you roll your eyes, long departed from an era long dissolved and purged from short-term memory.

Carson Palmer: The former quarterback that resulted in Cincinnati drafting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the 2012 NFL Draft and the No. 37 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft is facing tremendous uncertainty. With many of us facing uncertainty while companies downsize and look for ways to reduce payroll costs, we can certainly understand.

Palmer enters 2013 with a $13 million salary and $15.335 million cap number and the Raiders are expected to, at the very least, invite competition for the starting role. Reports have indicated that unless Palmer takes a paycut, he'll be released from Oakland and become an unrestricted free agent, which by our count, he's never been. No doubt that there are teams that could use Palmer's talent so we don't expected prolonged unemployment but juvenile demands may surface.

Keith Rivers: Traded last year to the New York Giants for the No. 167 overall pick during the 2012 NFL draft, which led to Cincinnati selecting Boise State safety George Iloka. No one really won the trade, per say. Though Iloka didn't contribute on defense during his rookie year, Rivers was dealing with multiple injuries that forced him to miss five games. Still he only started six games with the Giants, backing up Michael Boley and generating only 44 tackles.

Rivers enters 2013 as an unrestricted free agent.

Frostee Rucker: Departing Cincinnati for Cleveland on a five-year deal worth $20.5 million, Rucker was subsquently released within a year by the Browns after the team revamped... pretty much everything. Not a good fit as a 4-3 defensive end in Ray Horton's 3-4 defense, the Browns moved on making Rucker, who reached many career highs last year, a free agent.

Despite being able to sign with any team since February 5, we don't expect Rucker to be without a team terribly long, at least as a rotational player. There are some speculating that Rucker could return to Cincinnati as a situational player, but only if the team is unable to sign some of their own free agents. Personally, Rucker would already be back if we were running things.

Jonathan Fanene: Another defensive end that departed for free agency, Fanene was quickly released during training camp by the New England Patriots after a developing knee issue with the team citing a "failure to disclose physical condition." Fanane, a free agent since August 21, 2012, remains without a team.

Cedric Benson: Electing to go in another direction with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, former Bengals running back Cedric Benson signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers on August 12, 2012 worth $825,000. Within two months and 248 yards rushing (averaged 3.5 yards/rush) he was placed on Injured Reserve with a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Benson will become a free agent on March 12.

+ According to various reports, the NFL Sunday Ticket could be available after its exclusive deal with DirectTV is set to expire in 2015. DirectTV CFO Pat Doyle was asked:

Asked about the future of DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket amid rising sports costs, he said that if the price tag went too high in the next rights deal negotiations, DirecTV would consider striking a non-exclusive deal with the NFL or possibly even dropping the popular package.