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Bengals Bytes (2/28): Addition by subtraction

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Could the Bengals offense be better with Ken Zampese at the helm? The Broncos haven't heard anything official from Peyton Manning yet, but they will franchise tag Von Miller if a long term deal isn't reached.

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Let the board play begin
Like Cardale Jones’ 40-yard dash, the last couple of years we’ve seemed to pull up at this point in the NFL scouting combine wondering how the Bengals can end up with an impact cornerback or wide receiver in the first two rounds. In the end, they never let you know until Draft Day. What we do know is they could use both, but as the media wrapped up another annual assault Saturday on Lucas Oil Stadium, it was hard to tell how this thing is going to break.

Bengals Offseason Outlook: Quarterbacks
Bengals columnists Jim Owczarski and Paul Dehner Jr. begin previewing the status of every position as the team heads into the beginning of the new league year and free agency on March 9. Gain a deeper perspective of the coach's thoughts on personnel, the draft prospects and free agency as well as salary cap ramifications going forward. Today looks at quarterbacks.

Bengals offense could be even better under Zampese
The Cincinnati Bengals stand to lose some key offensive components with free agency approaching in March. So the organization is working so diligently to evaluate prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine, determined to find players to fill possible voids. Because whatever ultimately happens on the personnel side, the team’s goals for next season remain lofty with first-year offensive coordinator Ken Zampese finally getting the chance to run the show.

Offseason Outlook: Cincinnati Bengals
Five consecutive playoff appearances. Five consecutive first round exits. The beat goes on in Cincinnati, but the 2015 postseason loss was perhaps the most painful of the bunch. After a frantic comeback led by backup quarterback A.J. McCarron, the Bengals appeared poised to win their first playoff game since 1991. But after allowing Ben Roethlisberger to drive the Steelers offense down the field, Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones committed two astonishing personal fouls, allowing kicker Chris Boswell to set up for the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Random Bytes

Saints Reportedly Preparing to Be Named 2016 Hard Knocks Team
Seven teams meet the requirements for an involuntary selection for the 2016 edition of HBO's Hard Knocks series, but the New Orleans Saints are reportedly in the driver's seat with a fresh league year on the horizon.

Jerry Jones Says Tony Romo Will Be Cowboys Starting QB for 'Next 4 or 5 Years'
Jerry Jones believes Tony Romo could still lead the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback when the four-time Pro Bowler is 40 years old. On Saturday, the team’s owner and general manager said Romo, 35, will be the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback for the next four to five years, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.

Denver Broncos say Peyton Manning still hasn't made up mind
The Denver Broncos say quarterback Peyton Manning has yet to make a decision on whether he will retire and plans to continue talks with the team about his future this coming week. Broncos vice president of public relations Patrick Smyth tweeted the update Saturday night. Earlier Saturday, a column in the Denver Post, which initially cited two unnamed sources, stated that Manning had decided to retire and would acknowledge the decision by the end of the week.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos unlikely to strike long-term deal by Tuesday deadline
Star linebacker Von Miller is not expected to reach a long-term deal with the Denver Broncos before Tuesday's deadline for teams to use franchise tags, a source close to the situation told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. If no deal is reached, Miller would get the Broncos' franchise tag.

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo leaning toward having plate implanted to strengthen collarbone
Cowboys QB Tony Romo said via text message he most likely will have a protective plate surgically implanted to help strengthen his left collarbone after undergoing a CT scan next week. Romo's collarbone was broken twice in 2015 (three times since 2010).

Jaylon Smith's knee injury concerns multiple NFL teams
After medical exams at the NFL's scouting combine on Friday, multiple teams continue to have concerns about Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith's recovery from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee after questions have arisen regarding possible nerve damage, sources told ESPN. Multiple teams have made the decision to fail Smith on the physical after his exam on Friday, and sources with three teams at the combine said they do not intend to draft Smith.

Eagles to listen to trade offers for DeMarco Murray
DeMarco Murray insisted earlier this month that he was "committed" to the Philadelphia Eagles, but whispers at this week's NFL Scouting Combine suggest otherwise. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that teams league-wide are receiving the following message in Indy: Murray remains unhappy in Philly. Trading the veteran runner will be difficult, but the Eagles will listen, per sources informed of the situation.

Harbaugh confident in new contract for Joe Flacco
When Joe Flacco briefly became the highest-paid player in NFL history after leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl XLVII victory, the Ravens understood the deal was back-loaded against the salary cap to force a renegotiation in 2016. Flacco's cap number currently is $28.55 million, which ranks behind only Drew Brees' $30 million and Ndamukong Suh's $28.6 million this year.