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Bengals Bytes (2/13): Holding down the fort

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Who will be the linebacker who tasked with replacing Vontaze Burfict during his suspension? Would you rather have A.J. Green or Chad Johnson? The NFL sticks it to Aqib Talib with a fine for his facemask in the Super Bowl.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Vontaze Burfict's suspension could impact Vincent Rey's free agency
Free agency officially begins in less than a month as the 2016 league year begins. Which of the Cincinnati Bengals' 15 unrestricted free agents will be back under their control that day? It's a question both the players and the team will spend the next four weeks scrambling to answer. Before we get too deep into the offseason, let's take a daily look at each of Cincinnati's free agents. Friday, we continue with: LB Vincent Rey

Back-up backers to get call
The Bengals appealed Vontaze Burfict’s three- game suspension but now that it’s been upheld they’re making an appeal to find an Opening Day WILL linebacker that replaces him for the first three games of 2016. But they also need to replace Burfict in the nickel package on passing situations because in the last four games of last year Burfict played at least 86 percent of the snaps and he took every one in the Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh. If he re-signs in free agency, the obvious leader-in-the-clubhouse is Vincent Rey, the man that replaced him the past two seasons during Burfict’s comeback from micro fracture knee surgery.

RB consensus: Huge offseason for Bengals' Jeremy Hill
Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk knows Jeremy Hill. Faulk is from New Orleans, Hill’s hometown. They’ve met. They’ve talked. They’ve discussed life as an NFL running back. Following the low moment of Hill’s career, a fumble which set in motion the postseason meltdown at Paul Brown Stadium against Pittsburgh, Faulk immediately reached out to the Bengals running back.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green or Chad Johnson?
Looking at players going back to guys like Tim McGee, Isaac Curtis, Carl Pickens, Cris Collinsworth, and the list goes on.When you talk about the top players at the wide receiver position of recent memory, two names that often come up are former Bengal wideout Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson and 2011 first round pick A.J. Green. Which leads to the question of which player would you rather have?

Eight NFL free agents in for big-time paydays.
Free agency is right around the corner. The signing period begins at 4 p.m. ET March 9, after a three-day "legal tampering" period in which agents and teams can begin negotiating new contracts. Here are eight players who could be in line for major paydays.

Random Bytes

NFL fines Aqib Talib $26,044 for Super Bowl personal fouls
Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib got two personal fouls in Super Bowl 50, and the NFL has fined him for both of them. Talib was fined a total of $26,044 for facemasking and taunting against the Panthers.

Charles Woodson to Join ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown
Charles Woodson, the 9-time Pro Bowl defensive back who retired from the NFL in January, is joining ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown team next season, multiple sources have confirmed to The Big Lead. An ESPN spokesman had no comment. But sources say the network is expected to make an announcement later this month.

Five NFL Trends to Watch Coming Out of 2015 Season
Some NFL trends—more passing, more shotgun, and a blurring line between 3-4 and 4-3 defenses—become ensconced in the game. Others fade away, like the Wildcat or the read-option. Here are five emerging trends to watch coming out of the 2015 season

How Much Does Matt Forte Have Left to Offer a New Team?
Matt Forte is about to change titles. He’ll go from Chicago Bears running back to aging running back. That feels like the transition made by every running back who becomes a late-career free agent. Forte hitting free agency has been inevitable for quite some time now, and he made it official through an Instagram post Friday morning.

Matthew Berry very early 2016 fantasy football rankings
So, obviously, this is way too early. For rankings, I mean -- of the 2016 season. But what else am I going to do? Talk about hockey? Exactly. So here's my initial take on positional rankings for the 2016 fantasy football season, using ESPN 10-team league standard scoring (in other words, no PPR, two RBs, two WRs, a TE and one flex). Much will change between now and August, of course. Hell, between now and the NFL draft.

Osweiler hopes to stay with 'special group' in Denver
While hoping to knit a new contract for Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, general manager John Elway must also figure out how to keep the team together with a free-agent list that includes running back Ronnie Hillman on offense, and Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan and restricted free agent Brandon Marshall on defense. There's also the case of Brock Osweiler, who has a chance to become Denver's quarterback of the future if he doesn't sign elsewhere. After getting a taste of life as a starter, the young passer expressed a desire this week to stay with the Broncos.