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Bengals Bytes (2/16): Game of tag

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The Bengals don't often take advantage of the franchise tag, but could this year be different? Earl Thomas thinks the NFL should take some notes from the NBA.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Can Bengals keep safeties George Iloka, Reggie Nelson in 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. Monday, we continue with: S George Iloka

Andy Dalton lost his luggage again
Andy Dalton threw just seven interceptions this season, a career low, but he still needs to work on keeping possession of his belongings. Last week, two of Dalton’s suitcases went tumbling out of the back of his truck only to be miraculously located later by a good Samaritan.  On Monday, four days after he first lost his bags, they went missing again. Although, judging by the phrasing of this tweet, it sounds like it wasn’t his fault.

Bengals’ Defense Will Be Super Bowl Ready In 2016
The 2015 season was action packed for the Cincinnati Bengals. The campaign season started with promise and ended with a sudden crash. Along the way, the Bengals’ defense was a unit that surprised many fans and awed analysts. Cincinnati’s defense will definitely be Super Bowl ready for next year. When Bengals fans talk about the Orange and Black, it’s usually in terms of offense. Since the days of SamWyche, Bruce Coslett, and Lindy Infante, the Bengals have always been considered a high-octane scoring machine.

Bengals don't often play tag with free agents
The Bengals are not averse to using the franchise tag, the most recent being applied to defensive end Michael Johnson in 2013. Johnson would eventually play that year under the $11.175 million tag for defensive ends, but the two sides could not work out a long-term deal and Johnson left for Tampa Bay for the 2014 season. Since 2007 the Bengals have tagged five players, including two kickers.

A birthday salute
Happy 67th birthday to Bengals all-time passing leader Ken Anderson, born this day the day after Valentine’s Day in Batavia, Ill., but always an adopted son of Cincinnati. In honor of the original No. 14, we present a by-the-numbers argument for Anderson’s enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2016 Bengals Offseason Report: Linebackers
The NFL offseason is officially here and that means it's time to jump into free agency and draft conversation. Joe Goodberry will join me every week to breakdown a specific position for the Bengals. This week we preview the linebackers. Who's up for free agency? Who should they sign at that position? Who should they draft?

Random Bytes

MMBM: Did Bill Belichick email the Peyton Manning story to Shaun King?
Wellcome to the Monday Morning BM, just a word of warning your probably not prepared to handle the strong football takes and barrelfire NFL truths that you never knew your Mondays were missing. This column is written for and by a REAL fan of the NFL. Its designed to be read on your Monday Morning commode break after a long Sunday eating bad-for-you food and drinking beers. If you care more about SPELLING then you do about TELLING theres the door because this columns not for you.

ESPN’s Holly Rowe discusses her bout with cancer
When ESPN reporter Holly Rowe was wheeled out of surgery last week after doctors removed a cancerous tumor in her chest, a malignant tumor under her right arm and 29 additional lymph nodes, she found something waiting for her upon returning to her hospital room: 244 text messages. One of the very first texts came from Buddy Hield, the senior shooting guard and Player of the Year candidate from Oklahoma.

Monday Morning MD: Medicine has to catch up
We have to do better. Despite a decade of head injury in the headlines, there is still much more we don’t know about concussions than what we do know. We are a long way from prevention. There is still no proven treatment. The diagnosis and return to play is very subjective. There is not even a definitive method to determine CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) except for examining the brain after death.

Financial To-Dos for all 32 NFL teams heading toward the 2016 league year
As the 2016 free agency season nears, our look at a move or two that each NFL team might consider in the coming weeks.

Lions hire Brian Callahan as quarterbacks coach
Matthew Stafford has a new position coach, and he’s a coach who comes with the endorsement of Peyton Manning. The Lions have announced that Brian Callahan is their new quarterbacks coach. Callahan previously worked as an offensive assistant in Denver, and Manning has said he believes Callahan has an excellent coaching career ahead of him.'

Why the late hits to Peyton Manning's legacy will leave a permanent mark
The legacy of Peyton Manning is becoming a bit more complicated. After decades of near-unanimous adulation, the narrative about the superstar quarterback has become a bit more murky and muddled. The prism through which his career was viewed, from college until just before HGH allegations emerged in late December, has shifted now, at least for some. Things aren't quite as crystal clear and pristine as most would have perceived it even a few short months ago.

Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas thinks NFL should be more like NBA
Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas has had enough with the NFL limiting freedom of expression. His solution? Act more like the NBA. Thomas voiced his displeasure with his league on Twitter Sunday night. He didn't mention any rule specifically, but it's easy to name a few he might be referencing. The NFL issues fines for uniform violations, excessive celebrations, taunting, wearing gear not officially licensed by the league and touting personal messages, among other things.