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Which player besides A.J. Green do the Bengals need to re-sign the most?

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If the Bengals are trying to turn this team around as quickly as possible, which internal free agent should the team focus on re-signing after A.J. Green?

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is no question that the Bengals need to absolutely nail this offseason to even get close to being a relevant team in 2020. The first thing on many fans to do lists is to draft quarterback Joe Burrow and re-sign wide receiver A.J. Green. Those two moves seem pretty self explanatory for a team trying to compete next season. However, the Bengals have several other players set for free agency that could potentially be important as well.

Here are some players the Bengals should consider re-signing this offseason:

Tight end Tyler Eifert

Eifert may not be everyone’s first choice, but when you think about offensive weapons with the best chance of seeing their production increase with Burrow coming to town, he should be pretty high on that list.

The Bengals were very cautious with Eifert last season. He often split snaps with C.J. Uzomah, but the veteran tight end did end up playing 16 games for the second time in his career. His stats weren’t crazy, though. He ended 2019 with 43 catches for just over 430 yards and three touchdowns.

One big thing working against Eifert returning is Cincinnati’s depth at he position. Uzomah seems poised for a breakout year, and the team just spent a second round pick on Drew Sample last season.

Cornerback Darqueze Dennard

Dennard may be a confusing option for some. We saw Darius Phillips finish 2019 strong with three picks in the last few games. However, depth has been a major concern at cornerback for this team. B.W. Webb lacked that physicality that Dennard brings to the nickel position, and that showed up in the run defense. It is no coincidence that Dennard’s returned to the field after the bye week in 2019 marked a defensive turnaround few predicted. We could also seem Cincinnati part ways with Dre Kirkpatrick (saving the team over $8 million in cap space), so they may look at Dennard as a potential replacement.

It is hard to say what will happen in free agency though. Last offseason, the Bengals were able to re-sign Dennard after he failed to find the long-term contract he was hoping to secure. It seemed pretty straight forward that a one-year deal with Cincinnati was designed as a win-win for both sides. The Bengals would have Dennard on an affordable deal for another season, and the cornerback would be able to test free agency again in 2020. It’s hard to say if the Bengals can get lucky twice.

Linebacker Nick Vigil

Fans will undoubtedly hate the idea of this, but my main argument is it depends on the deal the Bengals give Vigil. He has been reliable as far as health is concerned, and he really did play well in the second half of 2019 when the defense turned things around.

There is no question that this linebacker group is going to see some major changes over this offseason, and I don’t think Vigil should be considered an unquestioned starter at any point this offseason. However, he is a valuable veteran presence to have, and you could do worse with a backup linebacker.

Safety/Special teamer Clayton Fejedelem

The Bengals have one of the best special team units in all of the NFL, and a lot of that success can be traced back to Fejedelem. He isn’t the only guy, obviously, but he is still the guy that helps make sure everything goes right.

He essentially slid right into the hole that was vacated by former-Bengal Cedric Peerman. He is a great tackler, he makes sure everything is setup correctly and he has a ton of experience doing it. Cincinnati has been spoiled by having two really solid guys at this position one right after the other.

Defensive tackle Andrew Billings

Billings has really stepped into his own the past few seasons. He has become a very important player in the middle of that defense next to Geno Atkins. He may not be a splashy player that gets sacks or tackles for a loss, but he eats up blocks. The question is how important is that to an NFL team. More importantly, how rare is that among mid round players coming out in the draft?

Cincinnati have Renell Wren on roster for next season, and they could likely re-sign Josh Tupou for cheaper than Billings. Is Billings snaps in the rotation that valuable to the defense right now?

Which player would see as the most important to re-sign going into 2020?

Poll

Which player is the most important to re-sign for the Bengals this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Tight end Tyler Eifert
    (416 votes)
  • 45%
    Cornerback Darqueze Dennrd
    (797 votes)
  • 5%
    Linebacker Nick Vigil
    (89 votes)
  • 11%
    Safety/Special teamer Clayton Fejedelem
    (203 votes)
  • 13%
    Defensive tackle Andrew Billings
    (234 votes)
1739 votes total Vote Now