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Bengals Bytes (2/18): What positions are the biggest needs and strengths?

What positions do the Bengals need to address this offseason, and which ones are they good on?

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Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New York Jets passed on AJ McCarron last year; what about now?
The quarterback landscape was altered this week with the news that AJ McCarron won his grievance against the Cincinnati Bengals and will be an unrestricted free agent. This week's mailbag question focuses on how McCarron's sudden availability could impact the New York Jets.

A positional breakdown of the Bengals' needs and strengths
Since my last article was kind of a bummer I wanted to do something more analytical. This is a position by position assessment of what the Bengals need to focus on this offseason. I’ll also include how much movement I expect to see at each position. Whether it be free agents, draft or trade the Bengals have a lot of work to do. As with anything I do, this is all based on what I saw on the field, not what I think the Bengals will do. So lets get start with the good news first — the defense.

BX: What does the McCarron decision mean for the Bengals?
AJ McCarron is celebrating. His career in Cincinnati is over. The Bengals will send him off, take their 2019 compensatory draft pick for him, and perhaps take a look at the current draft class and the veteran free agent market a little more closely. McCarron’s biggest value to the Bengals was that they knew if Andy Dalton had to miss time, he could seamlessly run the offense and steer the ship toward victory. It’s a valuable commodity. Just look at Nick Foles and Case Keenum last year.

TBDH: Haslett prepares for combine as Lewis’ most experienced defensive assistant coach
New Bengals linebackers coach Jim Haslett, in his 28th NFL season, sits down today opposite for a Q&A with the most experienced defensive assistant head coach Marvin Lewis has had on his 14 staffs. They are preparing for the NFL scouting combine where Haslett, the 1979 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with Buffalo, is looking for the next one. He believes he has inherited one of the top linebackers in the league in WILL backer Vontaze Burfict. If Haslett is an old school coach with nine years as a player and in his 19th as a coach, he says Burfict is an old school player that reminds him of himself.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens OLB Matthew Judon says Cincinnati loss will motivate team - Baltimore Beatdown
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon joined the crew of Good Morning Football to talk about his breakout year and how it ended in heartbreak. “It’s just motivation. We know what we can do. We had shutouts, we had great defensive performances, and we had great offensive performances,” Judon said. “We just gotta put them both together.”

Ed Bouchette: The Steelers seem intent on signing Le'Veon Bell
The team that once abhorred restructuring contracts has become one of the most notable at doing so.For lack of a better cliche, the Steelers are kicking the can down the road again after they restructured the contracts of David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt the past week. It created more than $13 million of salary cap space for this year, but that $13 million will eat into future years’ salary cap space.

If Drew Brees will consider leaving, Browns could make an enormous offer
Drew Brees has said repeatedly this offseason that he has no interest in playing for any team other than the Saints. But with each passing day, Brees gets one day closer to his contract with the Saints expiring. Which means that with each passing day, we’re one day closer to some team being able — without risking a tampering violation — to try to convince Brees to leave.

Random Bytes

Until he re-signs, Brees is the top free-agent quarterback
Most regard Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins as the best available free-agent quarterback. And that probably will be the case, when March 14 rolls around. For now, however, there’s an even better quarterback set to hit the open market.

Kyle Fuller Reportedly Won't Be Re-Signed by Bears, Enters Free Agency
The market for free-agent cornerback Kyle Fuller is likely to price out the Chicago Bears of re-signing the 2014 first-round draft pick, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Friday. La Canfora wrote bringing Fuller back in 2018 would seemingly be a high priority for Chicago but that he's going to have a number of suitors in free agency and "will not be returning to Chicago," per a source.

Saquon Barkley approaching Scouting Combine as a competitive event
As a highly rated prospect for the 2018 draft, running back Saquon Barkley could pass on doing on-field drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in favor of working out for teams at Penn State’s Pro Day or during private workouts in the coming months. Barkley may do some of those workouts, but he won’t be sitting out in Indy. Barkley calls the combine “something I dreamed about doing” and said that he’s approaching it as something he can win by performing at a high level.