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Bengals 2015 Exit Interview: Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu

Will Mohamed Sanu be back in 2016? He's one of the Bengals' most intriguing free agents this offseason.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There may not be a harder market to project for a Bengals free agent than what Mohamed Sanu will face.

On one hand, Sanu is a very talented pass-catcher who can be used in the wildcat formation and can even take a few handoffs in certain formations. He's someone who can do some good damage in the slot and appeared to move past his drops issue (0 in 2015, 9 in 2014) while also catching 66-percent of the passes he was targeted on. Sanu is also just 26-years-old and seemingly has only begun to show what his full potential holds.

On the other hand, Sanu caught just 33 passes for 394 yards and no scores to go with 71 yards and two scores on 10 rushes this past season. In 57 career games, Sanu has just 13 touchdowns (11 receiving, 2 rushing) and has never topped 790 receiving yards in a season.

Sanu recorded 30 or less receiving yards in his final 12 games this season (including the playoffs). He also has just seven grabs for 61 yards in three career playoff games, which only begins to explain the enigma Sanu has been for much of his time in the Queen City.

As a rookie third-round pick out of Rutgers in 2012, Sanu broke out with four touchdown grabs in nine games, but got injured and missed the end of his rookie season. Then in 2014 after injuries to Marvin Jones, A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, he was pressed into a huge role in which he had five touchdown catches with almost 800 receiving yards, but became a ghost as the season wore on and dropped far too many passes.

Then you've got 2013 and 2015 seasons where Sanu was mostly a third or fourth option, this year, behind Green, Eifert and Jones. What does this mean for his future in Cincinnati?

The Bengals will probably manage to hold on to at least one of their two key free agent receivers this offseason. The more likely of the two is Sanu, who could be in for a bigger role in 2016 if Jones signs elsewhere.

It also helps that Sanu isn't just someone who's done enough to command a lot of interest in free agency, at least enough that the Bengals can't easily match whatever he's offered.

I do think at least a few teams will go after Sanu, primarily the Cleveland Browns. They may look to re-tool their entire receiving corps under new head coach Hue Jackson, who also happened to coach Sanu every year he's been in the NFL.

I expect Sanu to be back in Cincinnati, and the chances of that happening will only increase if Jones signs elsewhere in free agency, like I expect him to. If Jones leaves, hopefully Sanu begins to show his true potential and becomes someone who can be a reliable No. 2 wide receiver on the Bengals' offense.