While the rest of the NFL community is laughing at the Cincinnati Bengals and the team’s inability to retain its top talent, the Bengals’ front office is reportedly concerned regarding that same thing.
There is a lot of concern in Bengals headquarters about this year's free-agent defections mirroring last year's. Lot of talent getting away— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 9, 2017
For the second straight year, the Bengals’ top free agents are getting away in free agency.
(Former) Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth is signing with the Los Angeles Rams on a three-year, $36 million deal. Right guard Kevin Zeitler is also leaving, signing a five-year, $60 million deal that includes $31.5 million guaranteed with the Browns.
Dre Kirkpatrick remains up in the air and the thought is the Bengals will be able to retain his services, though, that is still to be determined.
This all follows the 2016 offseason in which the Bengals lost Marvin Jones to the Lions, Mohamed Sanu to the Falcons, Reggie Nelson to the Raiders, Leon Hall to the Giants, Andre Smith to the Vikings, Emmanuel Lamur to the Vikings and Wallace Gilberry to the Lions (before getting him back). That’s a lot of players to lose in one offseason, especially considering Jones, Nelson and Smith were starters and Hall was essentially a starter, too as the slot cornerback. Additionally, Sanu also had a big role as the No. 3 receiver on the team and Gilberry’s absence was felt so badly the team opted to bring him back after the bye week, as he had already been cut by the Lions weeks prior.
The Bengals should be concerned that all of this talent has gotten away. We need to acknowledge that the Bengals didn’t attempt to re-sign Smith in 2016 and waited far-too-long to attempt to get Hall back, too. It didn’t seem like Lamur was wanted back either and it’s unclear how badly the Bengals tried to bring back Nelson after the Bengals re-signed the team’s other starting safety, George Iloka, in the hours before free agency opened.
Now, the Bengals are in a pretty bad position with Whitworth gone, Zeitler gone and no clear starter ready to take over either starting job. Because of that, the Bengals should be concerned, as Jason La Canfora reports is the reality.
Will this prompt the Bengals to actually sign a big-name free agent? Will the Bengals make a surprising move to counteract the losses the team is about to feel in 2017? How will the Bengals ensure Andy Dalton makes it through an entire season with the offensive line facing so much uncertainty?
The Bengals are concerned.
Are you concerned?