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Bengals Bytes (3/7): Rebuilding the run around Joe Mixon

The Bengals are looking to make the obvious choice of shaping their run game around their second year running back.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals Season Ticket Members Enjoy Combine Experience
More than 300 Bengals Season Ticket Members traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. Season Ticket Members learned about the history of the Combine and heard from former players on their Combine experiences. “Our experience was incredible,” said Jill Oester. “The NFL Legends speakers at the VIP breakfast were great at setting the tone of how serious the Combine is for these young athletes, telling of their personal experiences from the past and relaying in a positive way the importance of the code of conduct for the day.”

Report: Raiders interested in former Bengals TE Tyler Eifert
While 2018 NFL free agency doesn't officially get underway until March 14, it certainly doesn't mean that the rumors and reports of interest from teams hasn't picked up steam. With the NFL Scouting Combine now in the books, the free agency fun is kicking into another gear, and of course, the Oakland Raiders have already been linked to quite a few players.

Bengals re-build run with Mixon
There are more questions than answers on the Bengals offense these days, but there is one absolute (besides Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard) that has emerged this offseason and crystalized at last week’s NFL scouting combine. Joe Mixon. For the second straight year, Mixon was the talk of the combine even though he was all the way across the country in his native Bay Area. This time the discussion was limited to his team talking about the expanded role he assumed in the middle of his rookie season and now takes day one this spring.

Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Free Agency: Will Russell Bodine return?
The Bengals know what they have in Russell Bodine. For them, that’s part of the appeal. Cincinnati enters free agency next week interested in a deal to retain their starting center of the past four seasons. Durability is the first attribute nearly every staff member points to when discussing his value. They aren't wrong. He hasn’t missed a single game in his four seasons since the Bengals drafted him in the fourth round in 2014.

TDBH: Lewis bids to change culture with free-agent double as Thornton, Hardy agree to terms
The word comes late tonight and the team doesn’t confirm it as if it is too much to process. But the agents do as the impact of new Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is immediately felt in the first hours of free agency with verbal agreements from valued and respected locker-room pros in defensive tackle John Thornton and middle linebacker Kevin Hardy. The Bengals have never dropped money like this so quickly and expensively, but they are all in to help Lewis change the culture to the tune of $10 million in money this year for the pair as Hardy signs a four-year deal worth about $15 million and Thornton pulls down $22.5 million for six.

Media Mock Draft on call
With the landscape looking pretty much the way it did last month in our first try of the year, we’re on the phone trying to concoct the first trade in the history of the Media Mock Draft. Last week’s NFL scouting combine didn’t move the needle on the top players so this is what you’re going to get in the first 11 picks until quarterback Kirk Cousins signs on the first day of free agency on March 14.

AFC North Bytes

Baltimore Ravens: Donte Moncrief interest displays proper mindset
Saying that the Baltimore Ravens put Joe Flacco out there all alone in 2017 might be putting it kindly. The lack of production and, frankly, talent at the wide receiver position in Baltimore this past season was the talk for much of the year. However, it’s something that the front office has promised to address in the 2018 offseason.

Report: Le'Veon Bell Receives Franchise Tag from Steelers for 2nd Straight Year
For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly placed the franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news Tuesday. According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, the one-year deal will be worth $14.54 million in 2018.

Random Bytes

Michael Bennett Trade Rumors: Seahawks Seeking Deal to Make Team 'Quieter'
Michael Bennett may soon be on his way out of the Pacific Northwest. Appearing on NFL Network's Up to the Minute on Tuesday, insider Ian Rapoport said it's "pretty clear" Bennett's time with the Seattle Seahawks is up. "From what I understand, the Seahawks are looking to move him," he said. "One of their core defensive players over the last several years. Production has been really no question here, but this is a team that's trying to maybe quiet things down a little bit compared to over the last couple years."

Christian McCaffrey Credited for Saving Man's Life Who Fell 20 Feet onto a Rock
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey helped save a man's life during a hike in Castle Rock, Colorado. According to Max Henson of the Panthers' official site, McCaffrey and a group of friends and family witnessed a 72-year-old man, Dan Smoker Sr., fall 20 feet onto a rock during the hike on Saturday. McCaffrey called 911 before coming to Smoker's aid.

Kirk Cousins Tweets He's Open to NFL Free Agency Suggestions
Washington chose not to apply the franchise tag to Kirk Cousins by the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday, which means the quarterback will be a free agent on March 14. Cousins addressed the situation on Twitter, even asking his followers for suggestions about where to play in 2018.