The Bengals have yet to completely fill out their coaching staff, but they made an all-important hire last week.
Lou Anarumo is in the fold as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, and brings a past relationship with head coach Zac Taylor along with 30 years of coaching experience along with him. There’s nowhere for the Bengals’ defense to go but up with Anarumo now running the unit, but improvement cannot be achieved without notable additions in personnel — something the Bengals’ newest coach can help with, even if only slightly.
Anarumo’s former employer, the New York Giants, happen to have a couple players scheduled to become free agents next month that were coached by Anarumo last season. Unless the Bengals decide to become much more aggressive in free agency this year, one of them is far more likely to sign with the team than the other one.
B.W. Webb, Cornerback: How the Bengals handle their situation with Darqueze Dennard is the most interesting subplot to their free agency plans. Dennard is likely to receive a contract similar to that of what Tavon Young received from the Ravens, but what if the Bengals decide that’s too pricey? Cincinnati could find Dennard’s replacement on the open market, and who better than a guy who had success under Anarumo?
Webb has experience lining up outside, but ProFootballFocus.com had this note about Weeb through 10 weeks of the season when he lined up as the nickel cornerback:
When B.W. Webb lines up in the slot; he’s been thrown at just 13 times on 142 coverage snaps. He’s the only slot cornerback with 100 or more slot coverage snaps to be thrown at less than 10% of the time.
While his overall grade only has him as the 77th ranked cornerback in the NFL, he could adequately fill a hole in the defense — not to mention help the transition to a new defensive coordinator. There is also a chance this could be the preferred series of events for this new Bengals staff that has no ties to Dennard.
It also helps that Webb isn’t viewed as a premium free agent, which means it could help the ever-important compensatory equation come next offseason for Cincinnati.
Landon Collins, Safety: The Bengals signing Collins would really prove that a drastic shift has taken place inside Paul Brown Stadium. It is far more likely that a team will throw plenty of guaranteed money at Collins, and the Bengals have never been prone to that behavior.
On the football side of things, Collins would provide some serious versatility that the Bengals are lacking. He played more of a safety and linebacker hybrid in New York, which helps slow down those easy short yardage passes that have been plaguing the NFL (and especially the Bengals) lately.
The Bengals seem to have their starters entrenched at both safety positions with Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams, so Collins would presumably be signing on as a linebacker, which he may not agree to do. There is also the very real possibility that the Giants use the franchise tag on Collins, which would eliminate any possibility of the Bengals attempting to pry him away.
Would you like to see the Bengals pursue either of these players in free agency?