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Best NFL free agents that the Bengals should consider following the draft

A look at the top NFL free agents still waiting to be signed going into the summer.

Dallas Cowboys v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

With the NFL Draft over and spring workouts beginning, there’s about to be a mini free agency period beginning this week.

That’s because teams can now sign free agents and not have their compensatory picks affected. Compensatory picks are awarded to teams if they had net losses during the free agency period, and the Bengals figure to land some extra picks in 2019 after losing Chris Smith, AJ McCarron, Russell Bodine, Jeremy Hill and Andre Smith in free agency.

The Bengals weren’t very active in free agency, signing only Preston Brown and Matt Barkley, so they figure to score some extra Day 3 picks in 2019.

Now, the Bengals can sign players without the potential compensatory picks being affected, and there are some big names still on the market. The biggest is Dez Bryant, who likely will not end up in Cincinnati, but it is fun to think about.

The biggest name on the market that Cincinnati could use is Johnathan Hankins. One of the better interior lineman in football, Hankins was actually cut this offseason by the Colts, so the Bengals could have signed him anytime they wanted and not had it affect their compensatory picks.

Hankins is still young at 26 and is coming off a so-so year with the Colts, registering 44 tackles and two sacks. He’d still be a major upgrade for the Bengals at that second defensive tackle spot next to Geno Atkins.

If the Bengals want more linebacker help, NaVorro Bowman is still out there. He turns 30 this month, but he’s still been a productive defender in this league. He recorded 127 total tackles in 2017 with the Raiders and 49ers.

Here’s a look at 20 notable free agents still waiting to be signed:

  1. WR Dez Bryant
  2. DT Johnathan Hankins
  3. MLB NaVorro Bowman
  4. S Eric Reid
  5. DE Robert Ayers
  6. TE Julius Thomas
  7. TE Coby Fleener
  8. S Tre Boston
  9. DT Alan Branch
  10. MLB Brian Cushing
  11. S T.J. Ward
  12. DL Terrell McClain
  13. S Kenny Vaccaro
  14. DE Charles Johnson
  15. DT Karl Klug
  16. OL Luke Joeckel
  17. DT Stephen Paea
  18. S Ron Parker
  19. TE Antonio Gates
  20. WR Jeremy Maclin