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Are some of the Bengals' free agents being forgotten?

The Bengals have more pending free agents than Iloka, Nelson and the Joneses. Are fans -- and other NFL teams -- forgetting about these players?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals currently have a baker’s dozen of unrestricted free agents set to be made available on the open market come today at 4:00 p.m EST. Of these free agents, most of the cyber ink has been spilled covering the wide receiver tandem of Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, along with the safety duo of Reggie Nelson and George Iloka and cornerback Adam Jones.

And this is not without reason for this. Nelson, a former first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, just led the NFL with eight interceptions, and has been a very good safety since coming over in a lopsided trade with the Jaguars. Iloka fell to the Bengals during the 2012 NFL draft thanks to teams placing too much emphasis on an underwhelming 4.66 time in the 40 yard dash. Jones is a very good second receiver, and Sanu is the only other experienced depth behind A.J. Green for the Bengals at the position. Adam Jones is also coming off a great season and his first Pro Bowl.

But while we focus on this quadrumvirate of free agents, let us not forget that there are many other solid contributors set to end their service in the Queen City very soon.

Leon Hall

Ever since Leon Lastarza Hall was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft, he has been a fixture in the Bengals secondary. For nine seasons he’s been a reliable pass defender and tackler, compiling 26 interceptions over his career. Overlooked for some well-deserved Pro-Bowl nods early in his career, injuries have taken their toll, as he has missed 24 games over the last three seasons.

If the Bengals don’t resign Hall or Jones, their top cornerbacks on the roster are Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw. Kirkpatrick finally got a lot of playing time in 2015, but the other two only have a total of two career starts and one interception between them.

Andre Smith and Eric Winston, Offensive Tackles

Wow, it was seven years ago when Andre Smith went AWOL at the NFL combine, and next resurfaced bounding his way through an infamous flabby forty yard dash at Alabama’s Pro Day. After his pre-draft workout fiasco, a holdout, and spending a couple seasons spending more time out of shape and injured, than on the field, Smith has become something of an afterthought. But we often forget that he’s been a very good right tackle during his time in Cincinnati, even meriting a spot on PFF’s All-Pro team a few years ago.

When both Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher were drafted with the Bengals’ first two selections in the 2015 NFL draft, it was the Whitworth family who expressed the most frustration, but the assumption was that it would be Smith who would not be returning after the 2015 season. And this still seems to be a likely scenario. Smith is still one of the best right tackles on the open market and he'll surely get paid very soon.

The Bengals have a very experienced, and quality left tackle with Andrew Whitworth, but if Smith and Winston are not re-signed, the Bengals will be relying on Fisher and Ogbuehi at right tackle, and as Whitworth’s backup. One can hope that the transition from experience to youth is a seamless one, but you never know how much of their potential will convert into production.

Wallace Gilberry, Defensive End

It’s been four years since the Bengals scooped up Gilberry from the Kansas City Chiefs. Gilberry has been the Bengals’ top backup at defensive end over the last few seasons, contributing 17.5 sacks and 124 tackles in 62 games. If he gets away, the Bengals will be looking at an uninspiring combo of Will Clarke (7 tackles and 0.5 sacks in two years) and Margus Hunt (17 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 3 years) as his replacement. Yikes! At the same time, they could use the draft and outside free agency to replenish the position.

Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur, Linebacker

Undrafted out of Duke, it’s hard to believe that the Bengals have relied on Rey for six years now. With all of the attention on Vontaze Burfict, for various reasons, and Rey Maualuga, we often forget that it has been Vincent Rey who has led the Bengals in tackles the last two seasons. With Burfict's concussions and knee injuries in 2014 and the recovery in 2015, Rey's contributions have been invaluable. Over three seasons, Lamur has been one of the team’s top backup linebackers.

If the Bengals don’t bring Rey or Lamur back, it probably means more playing time for A.J. Hawk, which you can interpret as either good or bad. But it could possibly mean a chance for playmaking linebacker P.J. Dawson to show what he can do. According to reports from Tuesday night, Lamur won't be back with the team.

Pat Sims and Brandon Thompson, Defensive Tackle

Geno Atkins and Domata Peko are the starters, but Sims and Thompson are the depth. Sims and Thompson were the only two defensive tackles to play in 2015 behind Atkins and Peko. If the Bengals lose both of these backups, they suddenly have a big hole with no experience behind Atkins, which becomes an even bigger hole when you figure Peko is probably on his last hurrah.

The Bengals do have an unproven 2015 draftee Marcus Hardison on their roster, but there is no telling how well he will play after sitting on the bench for the entire 2015 season.