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Bengals Bytes (2/23): Hopeful reunion

Where does each team stand with the salary cap? Rob Gronkowski made a fitting friend. How much are the Bengals' free agents worth?

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

George Iloka, Reggie Nelson: Free Agency values
There’s not much debate of whether it’s important for the Bengals to retain George Iloka and Reggie Nelson. But which player is more valuable?

Nelson hopes to return as combine opens
Reggie Nelson is back walking around, his sprained ankle that took him out of the Wild Card Game a distant memory. But there is enough feeling that he knows he doesn’t want that injury to be his last play as a Bengal.

Combine prep a whirlwind for prospects
On New Year's Day, Michigan State defensive lineman and Mount Healthy High School product Joel Heath took the national stage playing in the College Football Playoffs Semifinal in the Cotton Bowl against Alabama. Barely 48 hours later, he recouped from the 38-0 loss with the beginning of a rigorous draft training program with Ignition Athletic Performance Group, based out of Mason.

A quick combine week Cincinnati Bengals salary-cap check
The arrival of combine week, the league's six-day stay in Indianapolis to scout NFL draft prospects, means we are fully into the offseason calendar. In three weeks we will hit another milestone when free agency begins and teams start making moves that directly affect their salary-cap compliance. So now seems as good a time as any to provide a quick check on where things stand for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Random Bytes

Forty Under 40 honorees announced
They’re commissioners and CEOs, ADs and EVPs. They work for teams and leagues, in media and sponsorship, and with data and technology. And more. They are this year’s Forty Under 40.

Rachel Nichols Doesn't Think Asking Tough Questions Is Scary at All
It's a late afternoon in Los Angeles, and Rachel Nichols has been quieted. It's not due to the wishes of a Roger Goodell, or some other powerful sports figurehead who might wish she'd stop asking questions. It's simply due to the overstressed cell towers in the city, and she is driving around trying to find a spot where she can actually get her phone to the requisite bars so we can finish our conversation. Eventually, her connection is strong enough that we’re able to talk, but for a brief few minutes, the unreliable phone signal managed to accomplish what a lot of influential men in sports haven't been able to do.

How do players get invited to NFL combine?
Jim Trotter goes through the process that it takes to get an invitation to participate in the NFL scouting combine.

Big names are on the move in our pre-NFL Scouting Combine mock draft
The NFL Scouting Combine is the best, most-active week of the NFL offseason. General managers, coaches, scouts, agents, media and business affairs types (and hanger-ons) converge on Indianapolis for seven days and evaluate, talk, drink, hang out and debate. There also happens to be a bunch of draft prospects there, looking to get their dreams realized. There's three legs to the NFL Draft Triple Crown. Senior Bowl, Combine and Pro Day. The Senior Bowl opened the window to some of these young men, and there are countless others on display this week. Going into Indianapolis, here's my latest 2016 Mock Draft.

NFL rumors roundup
Today's NFL rumors include Dennis Pitta's future in the NFL, a surprise contract offer from Miami and the chances Mohamed Sanu returns to Cincinnati. The potential loss of both secondary options in the passing attack would make receiver a high priority for the Bengals in the upcoming draft.

Salary-cap space primer: Will Jaguars be bold in March?
With a few weeks left before the free-agency market opens, here are the teams with the most salary-cap space available. Conor Orr breaks down which teams have the most room to maneuver.

2016 NFL Mock Drafts : Mock draft 2.0: Texans pluck QB Wentz
Marvin Lewis has helped the Bengals assemble one of the most talented rosters in football by plucking undervalued prospects at the top of the board. Treadwell is a big-bodied pass-catcher with WR1 traits, but his questionable speed could make him available for the Bengals at this spot.

Erin Andrews' $75 million lawsuit against Marriott goes to civil trial Monday
Nearly eight years after Erin Andrews was videotaped undressed in a Nashville hotel room, the Fox Sports reporter (then with ESPN) will have her day in court. On Monday, Andrews’ negligence lawsuit against Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University will be heard in a civil trial as jury selection begins.

Biggest draft need for every AFC team entering the combine
We haven’t even gotten to free agency yet, so every NFL team’s personnel needs have the potential to change in a significant way between now and the 2016 NFL draft. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t identify what each team’s biggest need looks like right now.

Joseph Randle arrested for fifth time in 18 months
Former Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has been arrested for the fifth time in the last year and a half. This time Randle was arrested in Kansas on three counts of aggravated battery, one count of drug possession and one count of criminal damage, TMZ reports.

SI’s Media Circus hosts 2016 MMA media roundtable
Given the increasing interest in MMA, and considering the fact that this column has not focused much on the many media-related issues of the sport, I thought this would be a good time to panel seven respected MMA media members for a roundtable discussion on a number of MMA-related topics. The roundtable was conducted via email.

Salary-cap space primer: Which teams are near ceiling?
With a few weeks left before the free-agency market opens, here are the teams with the most salary cap space available. Which teams have the least amount of room? Conor Orr examines.

Rob Gronkowski is partying with WWE wrestler Mojo Rawley on a cruise ship
Mojo Rawley is a huge party animal aside from being in NXT, WWE's developmental program. His tagline reflects that. Even before his music hits, Rawley's voice reminds fans of how intense he is. "I DON'T GET HYPED. I STAY HYPED." Essentially, he's the pro wrestling Rob Gronkowski.

Stephen Rivers hopes to make name for himself in NFL
Stephen Rivers knows lineage and name recognition might open a window of opportunity, but the quarterback is trying to throw open his own door towards the NFL Draft. Stephen is a 6-foot-7, 235-pound pocket passer with a buzz cut and friendly disposition.