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5 players the Bengals should target in free agency

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We take a look at five players the Bengals should make a priority of when free agency kicks off.

5 players the Bengals should target in free agency

After trading Andy Dalton and releasing Cordy Glenn, the Bengals will have even more cap space to work with this Spring.

Even with the franchise tag essentially already placed on A.J. Green and extensions for Joe Mixon and William Jackson III, Zac Taylor’s squad will have ample funds to bring in outside talent. That has been the buzz for the better part of a month now. All of this is without releasing Dre Kirkpatrick, which is a possibility that would save a good amount of cap space as well.

However, this has been the case in the past and this is very much a wait and see scenario to verify if they’re true to their word. If they do target meaningful free agents, these are some of the players they should consider signing.

1. Joe Schobert

Signing a competent coverage linebacker from a division rival would not only hurt a team the Bengals play twice a year, it would also strengthen one of the Bengals’ biggest weaknesses. Schobert’s market seems to be a little north of $10 million per year, which would be notably less than what Cory Littleton expects to make during the first wave of free agency. Schobert is a much cheaper option than Littleton without being that much of a drop off talent-wise.

2. Joe Thuney

If the Bengals are going to spend big money on any free agents this year, Thuney is a strong candidate as he could immediately upgrade the offensive line. Protecting a young new QB should be the Bengals’ main priority and so spending up money to do so would make sense. While positional value could also be argued against Thuney, his bust potential is low and having a nice interior offensive line could be a big boost for the offense in general. With all that said, this is more of a dream than a reasonable expectation.

3. Bryan Bulaga

If the Bengals instead unexpectedly decided to address offensive tackle in free agency, then Bulaga is a cheaper candidate who can still offer excellent play. He is older, but he should be able to maintain quality play for a few seasons while the Bengals look for a tackle of the future. His age should also heavily drive down his price closer to something the Bengals would be more typically willing to pay. Having two good tackles could help the guys on the interior as we saw at the end of last season.

4. Ronald Darby

This is of course going with the scenario that the Bengals trade or cut Dre Kirkpatrick. While Darby had a rough season in 2019, he is still only 26 and has had elite play in the past. He should also cost a lot less than the amount Kirkpatrick is due in 2020. Signing Darby to play opposite of William Jackson temporarily while a draft pick develops would be a very Bengals move and could be a move that pays back in a big way if Darby can regain consistency in his play.

5. Blake Martinez

Martinez is the ideal contingency linebacker signing for the Bengals to make if Joe Schobert is too expensive for them. He may not be the asset in coverage Schobert is, Martinez would be able to offer steady play to a position the Bengals haven’t had even that at in a long while. Overpaying for a linebacker may not be the ideal scenario, but it would mean they wouldn’t feel compelled to take one higher in the draft. A starter at linebacker will be signed, the question becomes how much will he cost them?