As the Bengals inch closer toward free agency, they have yet to re-sign any of their impending free agents or show any real progress toward doing so.
While Marvin Jones is the team's top free agent on offense, Mohamed Sanu is no slouch at receiver either. Jones may get more interest from multiple teams once free agency begins, but Sanu will have his fair share of suitors as well.
One team that may stand out to Sanu is the New York Giants. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora just put out word that the G-Men are looking to sign another viable pass-catcher to pair with All-Pro receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Sanu is not only a name to watch for free agency, but he's someone who ranks high on their list of targets this offseason.
There are a multitude of other potential options at the receiver position, where the Giants are prioritizing finding a Robin to go with their Batman (Odell Beckham, Jr.), but few fit the bill as well as Sanu. The Bengals, his current employers, have never made a real concerted effort to retain him and they have a slew of potential free agents to sort through themselves as they try to keep their many starters who are set to hit the market (including Marvin Jones, another receiver of theirs who will do quite well in free agency himself). But with Victor Cruz's career in jeopardy and the Giants needing a presence in the slot and on the outside, Sanu ranks high for them.
Sanu thrived as the top guy for the Bengals a few years back when A.J. Green missed a chunk of time. He would already fit in the offense the Giants run and while he will hardly be the only receiver they reach out to as soon as NFL rules allow, he will be someone very much on their radar.
Adding Sanu at say, $5M a year, to compliment OBJ would help further open up an offense that, let's face it, even with Wilkerson anchoring on the other side of the ball is going to need plenty of scoring support to make the team competitive while the defense is being reconstructed.
La Canfora mentions Sanu garnering $5 million per year, and if that's what Sanu ends up commanding on the free agent market, it's hard to see the Bengals re-signing him. They simply have too many other players on offense they want to keep who are up for new contracts within the next year.
Jones is already a free agent, and impending 2017 free agents include Tyler Eifert (unless his fifth-year option is picked up), Giovani Bernard, Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth. All of those guys are going to require a lot of money to have back after the 2016 season, and giving Sanu $5 million per year may hinder those efforts.
Sanu has been a good player for the Bengals, but you don't pay that kind of money to a guy who averages 45 catches for 546 yards and 2.3 touchdowns per season from 2013-15 while playing in every game. If the Giants pay him that, that's their prerogative and that'll be a nice payday for Sanu, it's just unlikely the Bengals will be shelling out that much for a guy who would be their third or potentially fourth receiving option.
Sanu may also be interested in the Giants due to his New Jersey roots. Originally born in Sayreville, New Jersey, Sanu has spent the majority of his life in the Jersey area, playing high school football at South Brunswick High School before playing college ball at Rutgers.
A good portion of Sanu's family still lives in New Jersey and he spends his offseasons there. He has all the reason in the world to be interested in the Giants, and per La Canfora, the interest is mutual.
If the Bengals end up re-signing Marvin Jones, it's probably safe to think Sanu won't be back if he's commanding a contract even close to what La Canfora projects. However, if the Bengals miss on Jones, they may up their offer to Sanu and make re-signing him a much higher priority.