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Bengals Bytes: If you're expecting a splash... don't

Reviewing the news, notes, analysis, and commentary regarding the Cincinnati Bengals, the NFL, the NFL draft and free agency.

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Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Doc: Free agency proves NFL too rich, clinically insane
The rich become richer and the richer become unrestricted free agents. Decent definition of Great Country: An offensive lineman with 25 career starts in six seasons (and no Pro Bowls) signs a $30 million, six-year deal with the Tampa Bay Bucs, $15 million of it guaranteed.

Cincinnati Bengals should look to Vontaze Burfict to lead defense
Right in the middle of it all was James Harrison, the enigmatic outside linebacker who had a tendency to exhibit all three characteristics at once. One moment, he's scowling about doing interviews on days other than his normal Friday routine. In the next, he's cracking jokes with his fellow defensive teammates before taking their orders for his renown protein smoothies. To those who didn't really know him, he was a puzzling personality. To those who did, he was a leader, one that a team with budding young stars like Vontaze Burfict needed, even if for only so briefly.

Waiting on Cincinnati’s free-agent splash? Don’t bother
"There is no single silver bullet. We’re shooting a lot of small shots. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to cost the same amount of money. And it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have the best team possible." Oh, one quick note on those comments: Brown made them last March, in response to some frustration among the Cincinnati fan base.

Back to the future with Whit at LT?
The Bengals offensive line remains a work in progress even though some major issues have been resolved since free agency opened Tuesday. With Anthony Collins reaching a five-year deal in Tampa Thursday morning and center Kyle Cook’s Tuesday release, the Bengals aren’t prepared to say who is playing where.

Youth served as Harrison exits
The Bengals released SAM linebacker James Harrison Thursday and it had nothing to do with the Andrew Hawkins’ offer sheet that finally floated into Paul Brown Stadium from Cleveland earlier in the day. But it had everything to do with youth as the Bengals get ready to put their young linebackers on display at the SAM spot, led by Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur and the return of last year’s fourth-round pick Sean Porter.

Andrew Hawkins saga provides lesson for Bengals
The perception about Hawkins, though, was that while, yes, he was a good playmaker, he didn't deserve to have the ball in his hands any more than Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert or Jermaine Gresham did. Quite simply, because of where he appeared on the depth chart, he was perceived to be the Bengals' No. 4 receiver.

What we learned on Day 3 of free agency -
Vince Wilfork, Darren Sproles and Steve Smith were some of the big names in the news on the third day of free agency. Plus: Which mid-level contract from Thursday was the best?

Kouandjio, McCarron happy with Bama pro day showing
There were two big story lines to follow coming into Alabama’s pro day – Cyrus Kouandjio’s health and AJ McCarron’s arm. Both sounded satisfied that their workouts in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility on Wednesday helped answer some questions that NFL teams may have.

First 48 hours of free agency transformed 15 NFL teams
The first 48 hours of NFL free agency ended at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. Here are 15 teams that underwent various stages of transformation — for better or worse.

2014 NFL free agency's impact on 2014 NFL draft
NFL free agency hit with a vengeance this week, ushered in by a flurry of activity on March 11 followed by several high-profile moves in the hours after. How much of what has happened so far will directly impact the draft two months from now?

Day 3 NFL FA grades: Woods, Collins best deals of less-frenzied day
Day 3 of NFL free agency saw the market slow down in a big way, but there still were some interesting moves made, calling for more grades.

Free-agent Musings: Grading big Day 2 moves, reviewing Day 1 gems
DeMarcus Ware to Denver and Golden Tate to Motown? Nice moves. Josh McCown and Chris Williams? Not so hot. Here are Day 2 free-agent grades and Musings.

Best of the rest: Top 10 remaining NFL free agents
From Yahoo Sports: Here are the top 10 remaining unsigned free agents:

New Bucs DE Johnson familiar with turnarounds
"Before I got to Cincinnati, they'd been to the playoffs one time in (18) years," Johnson said Wednesday as the Bucs introduced the first four members of an impressive and growing free-agent class. "When I got there, we went four out of my five years. Just like Tampa's coming off a 4-12 season, I had a 4-12 season in Cincinnati my second year. I know what it's like to go through that. I know what it's like to climb out of that."

NFL draft diary: At BYU, Kyle Van Noy discovered himself
Sports recruited 11 prospects to chronicle their journey to the NFL Draft. Today's entry is from BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a Butkus Award and Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist as a senior in 2013, reporting on the eve of Friday's pro day workout.

Fresh off Twitter feud win over Blount, Richard Sherman takes on DeAngelo Hall
Fresh off of a Twitter battle with LeGarrette Blount, Richard Sherman found a new person to fight with on Twitter: DeAngelo Hall. It seems that Hall started the whole thing with this Tweet:

Adam Muema says he is done playing football
San Diego State running back Adam Muema has been an interesting prospect to follow the past few weeks, after he abruptly left the NFL scouting combine claiming that God told him he would play for the Seattle Seahawks if he chose not to work out. After leaving the combine, Muema went AWOL before resurfacing in an airport where he had been staying for a few days.

DeMarcus Ware 'disappointed' Jerry Jones made his business public
DeMarcus Ware gave the Dallas Cowboys an opportunity to match the offer he was given by the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. Ware's agent Pat Dye called Jerry Jones when he received the three-year, $30 million proposal, but Jones said Dallas wouldn't be able to make that type of commitment.

Reports: Vince Wilfork asks for release from Patriots
After spending 10 seasons in New England, nose tackle Vince Wilfork has asked for his release, as first reported by NFL Network and seconded by other media outlets. Wilfork, who is rehabbing from a severe right Achilles injury that derailed his 2013 season, is entering the final season of his prior five-year contract with the Patriots. While Wilfork is due $7.5 million in 2014 with a salary-cap hit of $11.6 million, the team approached the defensive tackle about restructuring his deal.