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Bengals Bytes (2/15): Early shopping

Taking a look at where the early cap casualties could land before free agency starts. Von Miller trolls Cam Newton and the Panthers. Who are the top candidates to receive the franchise tag?

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals: Reggie Nelson Returning Next Season?
The Cincinnati Bengals gave up the second fewest points in the NFL this past season, and prior to losing their starting quarterback, they were arguably one of the best teams in the NFL. The Bengals fell short in the wildcard round of the playoffs against the Steelers, and with free agency quickly approaching in March, Cincinnati's front office will have some major decisions to make.

Rams’ pursuit of RGIII would make for a great story
The one thing I root for when it comes to the NFL is a great story. And while the prospect of Magic Johnson pulling a rabbit from his hat by luring Peyton Manning to L.A. would generate plenty of interest, there’s another quarterback who’s migration to California would be nearly as compelling. Four years ago, the Rams picked up three first-round picks and a second-round pick in exchange for the privilege of drafting quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Report: Broncos "negotiating in earnest" with Malik Jackson
It wasn’t long after Super Bowl 50 came to an end that Broncos General Manager John Elway called keeping defensive end Malik Jackson in Denver a priority for the offseason. It doesn’t look like it took too long for the Broncos to put action behind those words. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports that the team is "negotiating in earnest" with the player who scored the first touchdown of their Super Bowl victory.

A Look at Early NFL Cap Casualties and Where They Could Land
How about a little early shopping? It’s early in the process, but a few teams have already started trimming their rosters in an attempt to open up some cap room. There will be many more to come as teams prepare for the start of the NFL’s new fiscal year next month. The 10 players this piece have recently been released by their teams. These players (listed in team alphabetical order) can be signed immediately—organizations don’t have to wait for the start of the free-agency period on March 9.

Report: Osweiler talks on hold out of respect to Peyton
The Denver Broncos won't begin contract talks with Brock Osweiler until they get final word from Peyton Manning. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports that the Broncos are holding off on discussions with Osweiler "out of respect" to Manning, who has not decided (or announced) whether he intends to keep playing or retire after 18 seasons in the NFL.

Franchise tag primer: Miller, Cousins top candidates
The NFL's offseason has arrived, hopefully sparing us from overwrought takes on Cam Newton's news conference behavior and Beyonce's halftime song selection. Tuesday marks the first day that teams can place the franchise or transition tag on prospective free agents. March 1 is the deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players. With the recent salary-cap bumps, the number of tags has decreased from a high of 21 in 2012. Just six players have drawn the franchise or transition tags in each of the past two years. With help from NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, our annual franchise tag predictions are below.

Why UCLA RB Paul Perkins Is NFL Draft's Most Underrated Weapon
Running back has become the forgotten position in the NFL draft. The position has been so ignored in recent years that one of the major storylines of the 2015 draft was the selection of two running backs in the first round—an occurrence that had previously been commonplace for decades.

Von Miller Trolls Cam Newton on SNL's 'Weekend Update'
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller had 2.5 sacks in Super Bowl 50 and harassed Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton throughout the game, earning MVP honors after the Broncos' 24-10 win. But he wasn't done hitting Newton nearly a week after the game. Miller trolled the quarterback during a segment of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live by continuing to mention his dominance in the contest, per Josh Hill of FanSided

Derek Carr’s 53 TDs through two years second only to Marino
Here’s something to brighten up the mood of Raiders fans heading into the offseason: Derek Carr is really, really good. How good? When it comes to passing touchdowns in the first two seasons of his career, Carr is second only to Dan Marino.