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Bengals Bytes (2/8): Cincinnati needs to make more aggressive moves to make the Super Bowl

The Bengals seem to be long shots for the Super Bowl next season, and one of the only ways to turn it around is to change part of their philosophy.

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Cincinnati Bengals Minicamp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals Playoff Team Free Agency Targets: New Orleans Saints
While free agency still looms in the distant future, every team is already preparing for the madness more than a month away. That, of course, includes the Cincinnati Bengals. The players on this year’s playoff teams have added more film that can be used for (or against) their cases for a quality contract with teams around the league; franchises everywhere were surely watching intently. This series is an exercise to determine a few of them who may be worth consideration by Cincinnati once free agency officially opens this spring.

Bengals free agency: Who should they re-sign?
Now that we are all done rooting for our favorite “adopted” Super Bowl champs, it’s time to get back to reality. How can our beloved Bengals get back into the playoff picture? If you’ve been around this franchise long enough, you know we should start with their own free agents. This organization likes to re-sign their own, before wading through the scrap heaps of other teams. Let’s take a look at their potential free agents, who I believe they should sign and the players they should pass on.

Chad Ochocinco almost gave $100,000 back to Bengals
Former Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson - aka Ochocinco - Tweeted a video Wednesday suggesting that he felt so badly about his effort in a 2003 game against the Buffalo Bills that he told former Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski to keep and cash a $100,000 check if he didn't perform "up to par" in his next game.

Bengals need to make aggressive moves to get to Super Bowl LIII
Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the Cincinnati Bengals, who finished the season 7-9. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.

TDBH: Former Bengals bring network star power to National Sports Forum
In a Paul Brown Stadium club lounge tonight the Bengals host a reception for the National Sports Forum’s annual convention of about 700 sales and marketing reps from the world of pro sports and they anchor the evening with a memorable orange-and-black panel discussion. Bengals Radio Network analyst Dave Lapham serves as moderator for the lively 40-minute symposium that ranges from the impact of Bengals founder Paul Brown to the future media coverage of his game. Brown is the common thread among panelists. Bob Trumpy, a Pro Football Hall-of-Fame broadcaster and the game’s first modern tight end, played for Brown. Lapham played on his last, best Bengals team.

AFC North Bytes

Ben Roethlisberger Wants to Play Beyond 2019, Says Steelers President Art Rooney
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger informed the organization he's planning to play beyond his current contract, which runs through the 2019 NFL season. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette passed along the update Wednesday from Steelers president Art Rooney II.

AJ McCarron 'would've loved' Browns trade, plus buzz on Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and other QBs
With their top veteran quarterback target in Alex Smith traded to the Redskins, the Browns will turn their attention to Kirk Cousins, AJ McCarron, Nick Foles, Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor and others who could become available. A lot has happened since the Chiefs agreed to ship Smith to the Redskins for a third-round pick and starting cornerback Kendall Fuller. The Browns offered the Chiefs one of their three second-round picks for Smith, whom Browns GM John Dorsey traded for in Kansas City in 2013.

Random Bytes

The Prize Target for Every NFL Team in Free Agency
When the Super Bowl is over, many fans dive right into the NFL draft cycle. Before we can start pumping out daily mock drafts, though, we need the dust from free agency to settle. According to Spotrac, the average NFL team already has $36 million of open cap space going into the 2018 offseason, even before cap casualties are announced. Only two teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers, are over the cap at the moment, while just two others, the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, have less than $10 million in cap room. Just about anyone can be in the market for at least one splash free agent in 2018. On March 14, teams will begin to sign those outside free agents and bring back their own.

NFL Mock Draft 2018: Full 1st-Round Projections for Class' Top Prospects
No NFL mock draft is perfect. There's just no way of predicting what's going to happen when there's so much still to digest. For example, who knows how some players will perform during the NFL Scouting Combine or how their medicals will go? The best we can do is look for the best fit for each player. The Cleveland Browns, who own two top-four selections in this year's draft, need a quarterback and will likely select one using one of their first-round picks. As for the Indianapolis Colts, they could go in a lot of directions including a running back, defensive end and linebacker.

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Matt Miller's Post-Super Bowl Predictions
In keeping with tradition, the morning after the Super Bowl I post a seven-round mock draft. As always, I'll caution you guys to not get too upset about team needs—because they're all going to change in free agency—and to remember that I'm still in the process of learning about these players. But that's never stopped me from having some fun and digging into a mock draft.