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6 Bengals remain on the free agent market; where will they sign?

Now that the dust of free agency has started to settle, here's how the Bengals should approach their remaining free agents.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The first 48 hours of free agency are crazy. If you ask former Bengals' defensive tackle and current NFL agent, John Thornton, he'll tell you that it's "the wild, wild west". If you're a Bengals fans who has watched Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Emmanuel Lamur leave and watched George Iloka and Vincent Rey receive massive new contracts with the Bengal, you'll probably agree with that assessment.

However, the crazy portion of free agency in the NFL is complete. The dust is settling and we're coming to the point where it's time to work out the deals for all the players that missed out on the fast-paced and generally crazy portion of the free agency period. As far as the Bengals go, here's the remaining unrestricted free agents from their 2015 roster who are still available on the open market:

Leon Hall

2015 cap hit: $9.60 million

From 2007-2011, Leon Hall was one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL. He made an immediate impact, turning in a breakout performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of his rookie season. In 2009, Hall and Jonathan Joseph were one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. Hall received second team All Pro honors, although he fell short of being elected to the Pro Bowl. He played in all 16 games in his rookie season and started all 16 games from 2008-2010 . However, a torn achilles tendon in the year he signed his massive extension (2011) has helped to ensure that he's never managed to even play a full 16 game season since.

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

Yes. Granted, the team can't afford to keep paying him the salary he's made for the past six years. If he's asking to be paid $9.6 million per year going forward, it's just not feasible given the amount he's expected to produce. Still, it would be nice to have a veteran cornerback talent who can help bring up the young guys and balance out Adam Jones' craziness. As long as he's willing to accept a more team-friendly contract, there doesn't seem to be much reason to not bring him back.

Andre Smith

2015 cap hit: $6.36 million

Weighing in at a total of 35 penalties and one single 16 game starting season in his NFL career, Andre Smith has consistently been one of the most talented yet unreliable players on the Bengals over the past six years. The No. 6 overall pick back in the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith was the replacement to the injured Stacy Andrews. He broke his foot in his sophomore season, but returned for an impressive 2011 season and a breakout 2012 season. The performances led to his re-signing before the 2013 season. The contract was worth $18 million over three years, but you could make the argument that he hasn't been worth that kind of money since signing.

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

Unless he was willing to accept significantly less money, as well as a backup/mentor role for one of the young tackles vying for his spot, he's probably a player the team should move on from. He's been one of the most penalized players on the team in recent years and has been known to take plays off and kill drives.

The Bengals can do so much better than Smith, who is likely to be able to command some respect on the open market. He hasn't been signed yet, but he is actively looking around.

Reggie Nelson

2015 cap hit: $4.78 million

Just before the 2010 season, the Bengals made a trade for Nelson that might have been one of the best trades in franchise history. In exchange for him, the Bengals sent cornerback David Jones and a conditional draft pick to the Jaguars. Jones never did much as a Bengal in his three year tenure with the team, other than start for seven games in 2008. On the flip side, Nelson has been a rock at free safety for the Bengals since arriving in 2010. In 2015, he had the best season of his career, leading the league in interceptions (8).

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

The buzz around Nelson lately seems to suggest that the Bengals aren't interested in re-signing him. That's unfortunate because, if there's one member of this group of remaining free agents that the Bengals ought to sign, it's him. Not only did he lead the league in interceptions last year, but he has been a consistently productive free safety for the Bengals since 2010. The Bengals have a talented player who could one day take the torch from Nelson in Shawn Williams, but he doesn't seem ready to start just yet. Nelson is easily the Bengals' best option at free safety in the short-term.

Wallace Gillberry

2015 cap hit: $2.05 million

After bouncing around the NFL between the Giants, Chiefs, and Buccaneers from 2008 to 2012, Gillberry found a home in Cincinnati in September 2012. Since then, he has amassed 70 tackles, 17.5 sacks, and six passes defensed. He might not be the most dynamic or well known player on the Bengals' defense, but he's been a serviceable defensive end and a great rotational option to give Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson some rest.

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

Personally, I could take or leave Gillberry. He's been one of the better surprises for the Bengals over the last four years and even performed well enough to have earned a $6.30 million contract extension with the team in 2013. However, he's also not one of the crucial starters on the team and could be replaced if the Bengals want to cut back on some of their spending.

Brandon Thompson

2015 cap hit: $795,300

Brandon Thompson was drafted by the Bengals in the third round of the 2012 draft. He was expected to work in tandem with 2012 second round pick, Devon Still. Still provided one of the feel good stories in recent Bengals history as the team kept him on the payroll to ensure he and his daughter, Leah, had health insurance while she fought and overcame her battle with cancer. However, he never panned out quite so well on the field and the Bengals released him in the 2015 preseason.

Thompson has been similarly unproductive on the field, but has been available to play far more often than Still was. Although, he was unavailable for the 2015 playoff game due to a knee injury.

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

It's hard to justify bringing Thompson back at this point. His injury at the end of the season hurts his stock going forward, and his stock was never really that high to begin with. Over his career, he's put up just 34 tackles and 3.0 sacks. Granted, he's only started in seven games, but there's just more reason that he shouldn't be re-signed. I wouldn't rule him coming back to the team in the future if they're hurting at the defensive tackle position, but for right now, there are other players who could take his place on the active roster.

Pat Sims

2015 cap hit: $665,000

The Bengals drafted Sims in the third round of the 2008 draft and never really got much production out of him. He did start in 23 games during his first stint with the team (2008-2012), but in those 23 starts he only amassed 83 tackles, 5.0 sacks, an interception, and two passes defensed. He left for the Raiders in 2013 and put up his best season (40 tackles, 2.0 sacks). However, he fell off in 2014 and was not re-signed by the Raiders.

The Bengals chose to pick him back up in 2015, but he only played in eight games and started none. Compared to the 2012 season, in which he also played in eight games and started none, he was down in virtually every category other than assisted sacks (12).

Should the Bengals re-sign him?

Based on his production last season, it's clear that Sims has lost a step in his game. Compared to his previous stint with the Bengals, during which he never really had much of a step to begin with, that's not a great look for him going forward. There's a chance that the Bengals bring Sims back because of his experience, but it is unlikely to pay anything above league minimum.