clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Should They Stay or Should They Go? Analysis of Bengals 2015 Free Agents

New, comments

With the Bengals 2014 season coming to another unceremonious end, we take a look at their 2015 free agents and who should be signed and who they should be let go.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Player Pos. 2014 Cap Hit Status Should Bengals Re-sign? 53 Man Roster Analysis
Jason Campbell QB $1,500,000 UFA No - The Bengals would be wise to have a backup that can push Dalton and who can be groomed to replace him if the Bengals elect to walk away from Dalton after the 2015 season. Campbell is not that guy. Maybe it's McCarron. Maybe it's someone else. Either way, Campbell serves little purpose at this point

Cedric Peerman RB $1,050,000 UFA Yes Probably Peerman has been a special teams stalwart for years now and his value on special teams cannot be understated. That being said, by October of next season, he will be a 29-year-old 3rd to 4th string RB. If the Bengals can find a younger version of Peerman, it is possible they let him walk.

Dane Sanzenbacher WR $1,200,000 UFA Yes Maybe I like Sanzenbacher and believe he should have been used more in 2014. However, if Jones is healthy in 2015, that leaves 3 guys ahead of Sanzenbacher. I would think the Bengals would be looking to find a younger and more explosive receiver who has the potential to be a number two WR should Jones go down again.
Brandon Tate WR $1,024,000 UFA No - I am not sure how Tate has lasted on the Bengals' roster this long. If your return "specialist" doesn't contribute on offense, he has to be really good at returning - that does not describe Tate. It shouldn't be that hard to find a player who can match Tate's return ability and also contribute to the team elsewhere as well.

Jermaine Gresham TE $4,832,000 UFA No - In my opinion, Gresham has been one of the most disappointing and frustrating Bengals of all-time. 2014 saw Gresham's pain tolerance and team attitude questioned - while watching him pull in nearly $5M. Someone will give Gresham starting TE money. The Bengals should not.
Kevin Brock TE $436,764 RFA Yes Maybe Brock has already signed, but assuming the Bengals do indeed let Gresham go, they need a TE, especially with Tyler Eifert's durability concerns. They may address this in the draft or elsewhere in FA, but until they have a replacement for Gresham, Brock is a safety blanket if nothing else.
Alex Smith TE $635,000 UFA Yes Maybe See above reasoning on Brock (safety blanket) - assuming he comes back healthy.

Clint Boling OG $1,551,362 UFA Yes Yes Clint Boling hasn't been anything special, but he has been a solid starter. Even if he were to be replaced as a starter, he is a solid backup.
Marshall Newhouse OT $805,000 UFA No - By all accounts, Newhouse is a great guy. By my account, he is not a good NFL tackle. Newhouse was so bad in 2014 that the Bengals signed (and replaced him) with a guy that spent the first two thirds of the season on his couch (Eric Winston).
Eric Winston OT $134,118 UFA Yes Probably Winston played decent, especially given the circumstances. He is a good veteran who provides a solid backup at OT, should a tackle go down.

Devon Still DT $536,471 RFA Yes Not Likely Still had high hopes after being drafted in the middle of the second round in 2012. He was the 2011 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and was expected to become a starter next to Atkins. Unfortunately, Still has not lived up to those on-field expectations. Still has been a great story and I would like to see him on the team and develop into the player the Bengals thought he was, but I am not sure that will happen. I would sign him as a safety blanket, but I am hoping the Bengals can find a more productive option.

Rey Maualuga LB $3,828,125 UFA Yes Yes Few have complained about Maualuga as much as I have, but I gladly ate crow on that in 2014. With Maualuga out, the Bengals defense was bad, really bad, and upon his return, the defense immediately got better - remarkably better. Unless the Bengals pick up a better option in FA or the draft, I see them bringing back Maualuga - as long as the price is reasonable.
Emmanuel Lamur LB $495,000 RFA Yes Yes I was very excited about Lamur coming in to 2014, and it's not that he didn't play well, but he wasn't quite the player I thought he would be. That being said, he was solid and looks like he can develop further. Therefore, I would certainly bring him back.

Terence Newman CB $2,000,000 UFA No - Newman is a great guy and had a good run in Cincinnati, but unfortunately he struggled at the end of the year and it looks like age has finally caught up to him. With the time coming for two first round picks needing to get on the field and the fact that Newman will be 37 at the start of the 2015 season, Newman's run (at least in Cincinnati) looks to have come to a close.
Taylor Mays S $795,000 UFA Yes Maybe Mays gives the Bengals versatility (S/LB), something the Bengals love, but he doesn't seem to give them much else. He is worth signing, however, because if the Bengals can't find a worthwhile replacement, Mays is worthy of a final roster spot.
Chris Lewis-Harris CB $436,765 ERFA Yes Maybe Lewis-Harris is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent and signing him or not signing him is not crucial, but he has been a solid special teamer. He is worth signing at a minimal contract, especially if the Bengals don't have or draft a replacement.

Mike Nugent K $1,400,000 UFA Yes Yes Nugent had an tough year, both professionally and personally, but he bounced back like a true pro and made 16 of his last 17 FGs, including a franchise record 57-yarder in the Bengals'   playoff loss. While I would not be opposed to the Bengals exploring other options at kicker, I think Nugent should be signed for a low price, as at worst he provides them a good safety net at kicker.