There hasn't been much speculation surrounding the free agent status of Brandon Thompson this offseason. A long time backup at defensive tackle for the Bengals, Thompson hasn't had the kind of career that will turn the heads of many teams looking for an injection of talent in free agency. However, the Seahawks, as a team that functions on defensive depth, could be interested in his services. They appear to have their sights set on working something out with a player whom the Bengals have not yet re-signed.
On Monday, it was reported by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that Thompson was in Seattle visiting with the Seahawks. Thompson wasn't reported or expected to be having talks with the Bengals about extending his contract, but now his departure seems to be imminent if he is able to make a good impression in the Emerald City.
Throughout his four year career with the Bengals, Thompson has only 34 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and a pass defensed. Those aren't gaudy numbers, especially for a player who started for nearly half a season in place of Geno Atkins in 2013. However, the Bengals have had issues with injuries and availability at the position over the past few years. Thompson has been a "valuable backup tackle for Cincy before tearing his ACL", as Fowler puts it.
However, it's that exact ACL tear that may have hurt his chances of returning to the team. As he has been fairly lackluster when on the field, the primary benefit of having him on the team has been security. A steady, reliable defensive tackle like Thompson is exactly what the Bengals want bringing up the back end of their depth chart. Unfortunately, his injury in 2015 creates vulnerability that may cause the team to not bring him back.
The Bengals currently have plenty of defensive tackles on the roster who are both effective and reliable. On top of starters Geno Atkins and Domata Peko, they have fourth round pick Marcus Hardison and standout undrafted DeShawn Williams. There's also on again/off again Bengal, Pat Sims, who is currently a free agent. But, he could be brought back for the sake of depth should Thompson and the Seahawks hit it off and work out a contract. With plenty of defensive tackles available in the draft, it seems unlikely that the Bengals will make much of a push for Thompson if the Seahawks extend an offer.
On the Seahawks' end, defensive tackle depth isn't currently much to speak of. Sure, they have a reliable starter in Ahtyba Rubin, but the departure of Brandon Mebane to the Chargers means that there is a significant hole in theirroster for the Seahawks to fill. On top of that, there isn't really anyone else on their roster with the kind of playing experience or production of Thompson. They could always draft a high-end defensive tackle in the draft, but it doesn't really solve their problem with depth at the position.
From the Bengals' perspective, it is true that losing a reliable player like Thompson is not the most encouraging news. However, it is also true that, when on the field, Thompson has shown much more of the inability to work around double teams and substandard pass rushing technique that caused scouts to question him in the 2012 draft. Though, his strength and hand work against the run is what made the Bengals value him in the third round.