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ESPN grades Bengals offseason as one of NFL's worst

The crew at ESPN (Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates) applied an offseason grade for each team, heavily weighing free agency and the NFL draft into a comprehensive (though extremely arbitrary) grade. They weren't impressed with the Bengals, giving Cincinnati a "C+".

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

If you ask Bengals fans or the media, there's a lukewarm feeling about the team's overall production during the offseason -- free agency brought Michael Johnson and Pat Sims home to the Bengals, reunited A.J. Hawk with the state of Ohio and introduced role players, with precarious "bubble" identities, into an offseason roster that's loaded with "win now" talent.

The crew at ESPN graded each team's offseason, judging free agency and the NFL draft into a comprehensive (and extremely arbitrary) grade.. and they weren't impressed with the Bengals, offering up a less-than thrilling "C+" grade for the team.

Williamson also thought the Bengals were too conservative in their approach after falling short in the playoffs for a third successive season.

"Everyone compliments them like they are loaded and building with guys for tomorrow," Williamson said. "Are they good enough to do that? Why not take Shane Ray? Why not be more intent on winning today?"

Riddick voiced similar concerns, calling this an average offseason, one in which the Bengals invested in some of their own players and drafted for the future. "The people they already have just have to play better," Riddick said.

It's actually four consecutive first-round playoff exits, but, let's ignore that. How does the Bengals' grade compare with the rest of the NFL?

Only four teams (the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers) fared worse.

Agree? Disagree? Indifferent?