Free agency opened its two-day tampering period Tuesday before the chess game begins in earnest on Thursday - and the rumblings around Dove Valley have begun as well.
Scour the Bengals record book and there is no mention of William Efficiency Connelly. Even though during his typically brisk, economical assault of his daily tasks he is the only Bengal in history to get a practice lecture from Paul Brown, a game ball from Marvin Lewis, and a champagne toast from the dreaded division rivals both coached in the Cleveland Browns/ Baltimore Ravens.
Cincinnati needs a running mate to complement star A.J. Green, and Corey Davis might be just right. PFF teamed up with 120 Sports to explore the fit.
On the first day of free agency Tuesday several players hit the market after they were released by their teams and that’s the kind of player the Bengals mull this early in the process. As expected, the Bengals tendered a one-year contract to restricted free agent guard-center T.J Johnson, thought to be at $1.8 million. That means if Johnson signs elsewhere the Bengals can match or get a seventh-round draft pick as compensation.
Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon visited privately with the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints on Tuesday night prior to his pro day, according to an NFL Network report. This week will be the first time Mixon meets with teams during the draft process. Mixon was not invited to the NFL scouting combine because of his off-the-field conduct.
The 52-hour legal tampering window officially opens Wednesday across the National Football League. Teams officially are allowed two days of authorized conversations with players and agents from other teams. Yes, these conversations have likely been going on for a while, but the real action heats up Wednesday and hits a crescendo when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The salary cap rose to $167 million this year and the Bengals have allotted somewhere in the range of $16-20 million of their cap space this year for free agents.
The Scouting Combine is over and the 40 times are in. Soon, team draft board’s will be starting to take form. The Cincinnati Bengals have an opportunity to find a game changer, with the ninth pick. Who will they take? Let’s look at the possibilities.
AFC North Bytes
A split with Tony Romo appears inevitable in Dallas, but it might not take long for the Cowboys to find a new backup for Dak Prescott. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported former Browns quarterback Josh McCown is slated to visit with the Cowboys.
The Ravens announced Tuesday that they have terminated the contracts of safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerback Shareece Wright. Lewis, 28, has played seven NFL seasons with the Chiefs, Texans and Ravens. He started 15 games for the Ravens in 2015 but was a backup last season.
Two years ago, as cornerback Darrelle Revis was becoming a free agent, the Steelers expressed interest. So will they do it again? Per a league source, the Steelers aren’t interested in bringing Revis back to Pittsburgh, the town where he grew up and where he played college football.
It is March, so that means 2017 NFL Free Agency is around the corner. The “Legal Tampering Period” starts tomorrow, on March 7th. This is when teams are allowed to negotiate with “certified agents” of players about to become free agents, the news cycle will be filled with deals in-the-works, rumors of handshake deals and other player-team marriages. Then on March 9th free agents are officially allowed to sign with teams. You can guarantee the news will be rife with immediate hot takes and articles on “free agency winners”. The vast majority of takes will be extremely superficial. “Which team improved the most?” and most likely, it will be the team that spent the most to sign the best splash players. It’s predictable, it’s inevitable, but there is just one problem:
NFL Hall of Fame Coach Mike Ditka joined the Sean Salisbury Show. Among other topics, he discussed how much stock he places in the NFL Combine, why he would pass on Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon in the draft, the toughest player he ever coached, and more.
You can add D.J. Fluker to the list of players who will not relocate with the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017. The franchise will part ways with the 25-year-old offensive lineman after four seasons, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Senior Analyst Sam Monson identifies 10 veterans who can serve as short-term "band-aids" in 2017, including Broncos edge defender DeMarcus Ware.
One of the things I always examined during my time as an agent was the connections clients had with former coaches and team executives that were around the NFL when their contracts were set to expire. When meeting with players to discuss their upcoming free agency, these relationships would be explored. Since familiarity can bring comfort, a positive experience could make a potential destination more attractive to clients. The opposite was true with negative experiences.
Kirk Cousins among league's top franchise tags, while Dont'a Hightower leads list of free agents.The Bengals are successful in keeping their own players even after they explore the open market. It may not be the case with Zeitler. He may price himself of Cincinnati.
It can often go ugly when a television entity moves on from a longtime staffer (see: Curry, Ann), but give ESPN management a ton of credit: They handled the end of the Chris Berman era with particular aplomb, threading the fine line of allowing Berman a celebratory exit as the host of Sunday NFL Countdown and ESPN’s NFL draft coverage while making it clear they were moving in a new direction for his hosting roles.