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Bengals 2021 free agents: A.J. Green, Joe Mixon headline extensive list

At least two of these names may be crossed off come September.

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

2020 free agency was a breath of fresh air for fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. Not one of their own free agents re-signed with the team to anything more than a one-year deal, and eight new players were brought in from around the NFL.

Such a historic two-week span is now exactly that: history. 2021 is next on the docket, and plenty of noteworthy names will have expired contracts this time next year.

As of this posting, 23 players currently on the roster will be unrestricted free agents when the 2020 league year concludes next March. In order of their current average salary, this is the entire list.

2021 Bengals Unrestricted Free Agents

A.J. Green* WR 33 $18,171,000
Shawn Williams S 30 $4,875,000
John Ross III** WR 26 $4,278,966
Mackensie Alexander* CB 28 $4,000,000
Kevin Huber P 36 $2,650,000
William Jackson III** CB 29 $2,426,411
Brandon Wilson* S 27 $2,133,000
Cethan Carter* TE 28 $2,133,000
Josh Tupou* DT 27 $2,133,000
Alex Redmond* G 26 $2,133,000
Randy Bullock K 32 $2,102,500
Alex Erickson WR 29 $2,025,000
LeShaun Sims* CB 28 $1,700,000
Josh Bynes* S 32 $1,650,000
Joe Mixon** RB 25 $1,362,541
Clark Harris LS 37 $1,147,500
Torry McTyer* CB 26 $875,000
Mike Thomas* WR 27 $850,000
Greg Mabin* CB 27 $825,000
Carl Lawson** DE 26 $763,155
Ryan Glasgow** DT 28 $704,912
Samaje Perine* RB 26 $690,000
Jordan Evans** LB 26 $639,130

*one asterisk indicates the player is currently rostered under a one-year deal agreed upon this year.

**two asterisks indicates the player is currently rostered under his rookie contract.

Nearly half of the Bengals’ 2017 NFL Draft class has already been removed from the roster, but the six that remain from that class will have the chance to enter free agency. Five of them will can become free agents for the first time, the exception being Brandon Wilson.

The front office would of course like Joe Mixon to not be a part of that group. Discussions of an extension with the star running back have persisted through this offseason and a deal could very well be reached by the start of this season.

John Ross III could still be given a new deal like Mixon sometime this year, but after declining his fifth-year option, the higher ups have all but ensured he will be looking at a new contract next year. The team that gives him that contract will probably not be the Bengals unless something unlikely happens.

Players such as Mackensie Alexander and Josh Bynes could set themselves up nicely if they succeed as starters in Cincinnati’s revamped defense. Considering Bynes’ age, he may have to play on one-year deals for the rest of his career, but Alexander could receive a multi-year contract next year. Perhaps the Bengals are the team to give him one.

Carl Lawson might be the most unheralded name listed here. Injuries have plagued his career after a promising rookie campaign three years ago, but a return to that level of play could make him a hot commodity on the open market.

If all goes well in July, A.J. Green’s name can be removed from this list. The franchise has until July 15th to workout a new contract for the third-most productive receiver of the 2010s according to Pro Football Focus. If no deal is reached by then, Green will play out this season under the franchise tag and the Bengals will have to wait until the offseason to return to the negotiation table.

Getting Green and Mixon on the books for 2021 and beyond is crucial for making the 2021 free agency period as easy as possible. As you can see, a lot of work is yet to be done.