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Bengals Bytes (3/14): Risky business

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Andre Smith visited the Vikings, and the NFL rescinded a fine from the Bengals and Steelers playoff game. What signings are the riskiest so far in free agency?

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers coach says NFL rescinded fine for pulling Bengals player's hair
While it certainly looked like Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak pulled the hair of Bengals safety Reggie Nelson during their Wild-Card playoff game in January, and Munchak was fined $10,000 for doing so, the NFL has apparently decided to rescind that fine.

Andre Smith is ideal fit for Vikings, analyst says
Free agent Andre Smith arrived in Minnesota on Sunday for a visit and declared himself a "dominant lineman" who could help the Vikings. Minnesota is looking for a possible starter at right tackle. Smith, who played the past seven years with Cincinnati, said he could fill the bill.

Random Bytes

The Riskiest Signings of NFL Free Agency so Far
There isn't a riskier way of player acquisition in the NFL than free agency, when teams spend millions and millions on players that other teams let go. That isn't to say free agency can't be used wisely. The best teams draft, develop and retain their own talent while picking their spots on the open market. And for some teams with tons of cap space, spending isn't much of an option. Sitting on a mountain of money doesn't exactly win football games.

DL Akiem Nicks agrees to two-year deal with Chicago Bears
The Bears agreed to terms with defensive lineman Akiem Hicks on a two-year contract, the team announced late Sunday. Hicks is the third veteran free-agent defender to join the Bears since the onset of free agency, along with inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman.

Jermaine Gresham returning to Arizona Cardinals on one-year deal
Tight end Jermaine Gresham is going back to Arizona on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Gresham turned down contracts of up to four years for $23 million with $12 million fully guaranteed from other teams because he wanted to be back in Arizona. He took less money to have consistency in offense and reset his market for next year, the source said. His salary for next season is not yet known.

Patriots 'bracing' for Tom Brady to lose Deflategate appeal, report says
It looks like Tom Brady might get a four-game suspension after all for his role in the 2014 AFC Championship football air pressure scandal.  According to the Boston Globe, the Patriots are "bracing" for Brady to lose his Deflategate appeal and serve the suspension this season. The Globe points out how the Patriots reduced Brady's base salary to $1 million last week while posting an 8,000-word story on their website titled "The Background and Myths of Deflategate — Separating Fact From Fiction."

NFL Scout Says He'd Trade His Team's Defense for Ohio State's 'In a Heartbeat'
From time to time, fans engage in a debate about whether the best team in college football could beat the worst team in the NFL. Some argue the NFL team would win because every player is a professional (and built for the league), whereas not every player on a college team will make it into the league. It's a debate that will likely never get settled on the field, so we will never have a definitive answer.

Casey Hayward to Chargers
Versatile cornerback Casey Hayward will be spending the prime of his career with a new team after four seasons with the Green Bay Packers. The San Diego Chargers announced a deal with Hayward after Rand Getlin of NFL Network first reported Sunday that Hayward had agreed to terms, depriving the Packers of one of their premium assets in the defensive backfield.

Report: Bears made highest offer to C.J. Anderson
Restricted free agent C.J. Anderson's four-year, $18 million offer sheet with the Miami Dolphins wasn't the highest deal on the table for the in-limbo Denver Broncos tailback. The Bears offered $19 million over four years, Mike Klis of KUSA in Denver reported.