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Bengals Bytes (2/10): Veteran players who should worried about being cut

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Which Bengals players could become cap casualties as the Bengals look to bring in new free agents?

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals Playoff Team Free Agency Targets: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Cincinnati Bengals are entering an important 2018 offseason for the franchise. Most importantly, they need to attack free agency. And one of the best ways to do that is to look at this past season’s playoff teams and try to target players that could be of value to the Bengals. That’s what we’ve been doing with this series.

NFL Offseason Needs: Ranking Neediest Teams Ahead of 2018 Free Agency, Draft
This is as much about a franchise philosophy as it is about Andy Dalton in particular. The Bengals’ approach has long been to pay for a middle-tier QB and surround him with talent, investing early picks at receiver, running back, tight end and offensive tackle. With Dalton there have been ups and downs (dictated largely by how well he moves within the pocket), and all but one of his seven campaigns have ended somewhere between 6–10 and 11–5. That’s respectable but ultimately unfulfilling. If owner Mike Brown is unwilling to change leadership at the coaching level, he at least needs to evolve Cincinnati’s on-field identity. This year’s draft offers at least four first-round QBs, and Dalton would count just $2.4 million in dead money against the cap if he was released.

Cincinnati Bengals: Veterans in danger of being cut
The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have the kind of 2017 they had hoped for. First round pick John Ross barely played, their replacements for the departed Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler were poor, and despite some good talent on defense the whole team was let down by the offense. Andy Dalton’s men ended the year 26th in points and dead last in yards.

Early bird gets the Mock
OK, so we’re a little early, beating last year’s debut by a day. But why not? The media has returned from a Super Bowl where the Butler didn’t do it but someone did it to the Butler and the Browns are again poised at the top of the draft board. Can’t wait? Neither can we. Welcome to the earliest Bengals.com Media Mock Draft in history.

Down Syndrome Cheer Squad Led by Former Ben-Gal
Former Ben-Gal Debbie Elfers-Schroeder has a passion for cheerleading. “I cheered for the Bengals for five years back in the early 90s,” said Elfers-Schroeder. “I’ve always loved cheerleading and then I had a daughter. I always wanted her to be a cheerleader, but when you have Down syndrome, there’s not really as many opportunities.” To help her daughter experience the joy of cheerleading, Elfers-Schroeder co-founded the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati Cheer Squad.

TDBH: Pro Bowl MVP Palmer teams with Chad to lead AFC victory
Just 398 days after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is the brightest star in today’s NFL all-star game when he takes the AFC down the field in the last 1:48 for Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding's 21-yard walk-off field goal for a 31-28 victory with the key play coming on a pass to Bengals teammate Chad Johnson. "It was a thrill just being on the sidelines with a guy like Coach (Bill) Belichick and going down the field in the last two minutes," Palmer says via phone after becoming the Bengals' first post-season MVP. "Just handing off to a guy like LaDainian Tomlinson. It was the best of the best." Earlier in the week Johnson warns that he and Palmer will go off on their own and it happens on the second to last play from scrimmage when they make eye contact before the snap.

AFC North Bytes

6 free agent safeties who can help the Browns in 2018
Safety is an odd position of need for the Cleveland Browns. Last year’s first-round pick, Jabrill Peppers showed promise at the end of his rookie season. Derrick Kindred was one of the league’s best run defenders before getting hurt. Youngster Kai Nacua looks like a keeper as a reserve and special teams contributor, too. However, all three are at their best playing the exact same spot, the hybrid safety/linebacker position closer to the line of scrimmage. The Browns sorely need a coverage safety, one comfortable aligning some 20 yards from the line of scrimmage and providing over-the-top cover help to both sidelines.

Blueprint for the future: What can the Ravens learn from the Eagles?
The age old saying lives on: the NFL is a copycat league. We’ve covered it every year since the Ravens last won a Super Bowl, but what can the Ravens learn from the latest upstart team in the NFL? In 2013-2015, the key was a suffocating defense. In 2016, it was creativity and personnel on the offensive side of the ball. In 2017, it’s creativity, personnel and the right mentality?

Random Bytes

GM Bob Quinn, Lions Agree to Contract Extension
The Detroit Lions and general manager Bob Quinn have agreed to a contract extension, the team announced Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Lions said the extension "matches the term of head coach Matt Patricia's new deal with the team." According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Quinn and Patricia will both be in tow for the next five years.

Locking Up Jimmy Garoppolo Cements 49ers as Legit NFC Contenders
After trading a second-round pick to the New England Patriots in October to acquire him, there was little doubt the San Francisco 49ers would keep Jimmy Garoppolo beyond the 2017 season. The only question was just how filthy rich they'd make him. We found out Thursday, when the 49ers reportedly came to terms with Garoppolo on a record-setting five-year, $137.5 million deal, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reported the contract, which is the largest in league history on an average-per-year basis, contains $74 million in guarantees.

Fans Stabbed, Officer Assaulted During Eagles' Super Bowl Victory Parade
The Philadelphia Police Department confirmed Friday two people were stabbed and an officer was assaulted during the Eagles' championship parade Thursday to celebrate their 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Commissioner Richard Ross said the stabbing victims survived the attacks and arrests were made in connection with two of the assaults, according to the Associated Press. He also noted four police vehicles suffered damage as part of what he called "small hiccups" during the event.