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Why the Bengals should be more active in free agency in 2018

Marvin Lewis stated the Bengals need to look at bringing in successful players from other clubs. But just how vital is free agency to a winning franchise?

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After 15 seasons with Marvin Lewis at the helm of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Brown has extended Lewis for two more seasons to continue serving as head coach of the team. Lewis is the winningest coach in franchise history but his record in the playoffs and coaching back-to-back losing seasons were cause for concern when the Bengals decided to bring him back as head coach. The culture in Cincinnati needs to be changed, and one way to do that without re-working the entire staff, is by bringing in free agents this offseason.

During a recent press conference, Lewis addressed the need for the Bengals’ organization to change some of what it’s doing in free agency.

“We need to be better at what we do,” Lewis said. “We’re going to have changes in our staff. We’re going to have to gain some better players. We’re going to have to augment some of what we do. We’re going to have to do a better job of adding some guys from other clubs.”

The Bengals have been casual observers to the round-a-bout that is free agency, typically adding a veteran in the second or third week of the signing period. Bengals fans year round cite free agents the team should consider to improve the roster. Instead, the team and front office tend to favor veterans who have played for the Bengals in the past to continue to lead the way. Michael Johnson and Andre Smith come to mind, while the team also adds new veterans that other teams have cut like A.J. Hawk, Kevin Minter, and more. The Bengals also, recently have been getting worse at re-signing veteran players that they need in order to compete. Bengals fans this season relished watching Andrew Whitworth succeed in Los Angeles, while the Bengals resigned Dre Kirkpatrick, despite William Jackson III having a better year.

Free Agency is vital to an NFL teams success in the league. Comparing the Bengals last off-season to the Patriots is like comparing the tortoise to the hare. New England attacks free agency each year with aggression, this year signing key players like Stephon Gilmore and Rex Burkhead, as well as trading for players like Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen, and Kony Ealy. Most of these moves according to this Pats Pulpit article came during this first week of Free Agency. The timing signifies New England identifying their weaknesses, and attacking key free agents and opportunities to improve their team. Despite losing Julian Edelman, a top receiver for New England, the team worked their way into first in the AFC, benefitting from key Free Agent acquisitions. On the other hand, the Bengals missed out on the opportunity to improve key positions like Offensive Line and Linebacker, and paid for it during the season.

The Bengals need to attack free agency instead of being complacent and letting other teams take the best free agents. If the Bengals and Marvin Lewis are serious about making a Super Bowl run, Free Agents are key to building a team that can compete in the AFC. With Bill Lazor and Teryl Austin running the ships on Offense and Defense, hopefully they can help Lewis identify which players that are no longer under contract can help the Bengals win games in 2018.

Who do you think the Bengals should target in Free Agency this off-season, and have the Bengals done a good job in the past? Let us know in the comments below.