When I first came to Cincinnati, I struggled because I didn’t like it. But I quickly realized God sent me here to play football and spread his name among the team and the community. Loving my neighbor is fulfilling the Great Commission among my teammates by sharing the gospel with them. God has given me a platform with my teammates and fans that I want to steward well. I want to use it to the best of my ability.
When Marvin Lewis showed up for his first NFL scouting combine as head coach of the Bengals in 2003, Bill Parcells, Marty Schottenheimer, and Bill Cowher, with Joe Gibbs on deck, were still coaching. Current Rams head coach Sean McVay still had a year of high school left and Lewis had hitched his star to the No. 1 draft pick that year as USC quarterback Carson Palmer snuck out a back door after he did some work in Indianapolis’ now defunct RCA Dome that was draped in Kremlin secrecy.
On Friday the NFL handed out the maximum four compensatory draft picks the Bengals expected to give them 11 choices in the April 27-29 draft for their most since they took 11 players in 2009. But while 11 teams picked up an extra third-rounder, they apparently barely missed out on a third and another fourth when they were awarded the first compensatory pick in the fourth at overall pick No. 138 and the first comp pick in the fifth with overall pick No. 178. They also were awarded a sixth-rounder and seventh-rounder in the shuffle of last year’s free agency.
The Bengals will have 11 picks in the 2017 NFL draft after being awarded four compensatory picks on Friday. The Bengals were awarded compensatory picks in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds for losing Marvin Jones, Emmanuel Lamur, Reggie Nelson, Mohamed Sanu and Andre Smith to free agency last year.
Fortunately, the season is in the books and they’re able to look towards 2017, when they’re expected to be more like their 2015-selves. That’ll only happen if they’re aggressive in free agency, namely with their own pending free agents. Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth are two of the biggest names (literally), and they’re must-targets for Cincinnati this offseason.
The official 2017 National Football League salary cap has yet to be announced, though it is expected to be released in the coming days and climb to nearly $168 million – or about $13 million more than in 2016. The salary cap websites overthecap.com and spotrac.com, working off that assumption, project the Cincinnati Bengals to have about $43 million in cap space as they head into the new league year on March 9.
AFC North Bytes
Although the question of whether the Vikings cut running back Adrian Peterson won’t affect the amount of the franchise tag applicable to Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, there’s another development that will: Not using the franchise tag at all.
Friday’s official announcement of compensatory picks for the 2017 NFL Draft allowed the Browns and other teams around the league to close the books on some previous business, specifically in finalizing trades and in knowing the exact spot in the order of certain picks they hold in this year’s draft.
The Ravens could find themselves in need to again shuffle their offensive line. Ricky Wagner has reportedly already rebuffed the Ravens first offer, per Jason La Canfora. The dominos that would be due to fall could see Alex Lewis moved to right tackle, as he manned the blind side in college, and could be better suited for it as his leverage issues would not be as pronounced in the run game.
Emmanuel Sanders didn’t want to be written off as too small at the 2010 Scouting Combine, and so he got a bright idea: Add a lot of water weight. Sanders said he was worried NFL teams wouldn’t think he was big enough to hold up to the grind at the professional level, so he drank a huge amount of water just before the weigh-in.
Following another injury-plagued season, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is confident he will be ready to roll in 2017. Gronk said in an interview with ESPN's Cari Champion that there is "no doubt" he'll be ready to play when the 2017 campaign commences.
If Falcons fans are still looking for someone to blame following the biggest meltdown in Super Bowl history, you can go ahead and blame the NFL for scheduling an aggressively long halftime show, and Lady Gaga for taking part. An NFL halftime is only 12 minutes long during the regular season, which means the players are usually only off the field for about 15 minutes total during halftime.
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams made his fifth Pro Bowl this year, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be back in Buffalo for the season ahead. Williams has an $8.3 million cap hit in 2017, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News describes Williams as very vulnerable to getting cut.