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Bengals News (3/10): Remaining flexible

The Bengals hope to hold on to their star defenders without the need of using the franchise tag taking up valuable cap space as free agency kicks off.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals keep salary cap flexibility heading into free agency
On Monday director of player personnel Duke Tobin cited the NFL-wide constraints under what appears to be a $185 million cap instead of roughly $200 million from 2020. Meanwhile, according to overthecap.com, the Bengals began the week in the top 10 with the most room under the cap in a league where about half the teams are over the cap counting their 2021 rookies.

Duke Tobin and the Bengals enter the next phase of the 2021 NFL Draft process with Pro Days
With pro days beginning in earnest this week, this year's version of campus workouts signal the Bengals are entering the next phase of the biggest unknown draft in the 50 years of the NFL merger and Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin is vowing to find the age-old answers despite the limits of a pandemic-laced process.

Bengals passed on franchise tagging Carl Lawson, pass-rusher looks to free agency
The Bengals did not apply the franchise tag to pass-rusher Carl Lawson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. And while they did not tag him, the Bengals would like to sign Lawson to a long-term contract. The clock is ticking, however, as Lawson is slated to become a free agent when the league's new year begins on March 17.

Cincinnati Bengals Fans Beginning to Embrace Jersey Leak, Following Latest Edit of Joe Burrow
The Bengals' "new stripes" are beginning to grow on the fan base, assuming Sunday's leak was remotely close to what the updated uniforms will look like in 2021. Designer Seth Reese put together an edit of Joe Burrow wearing the jerseys that leaked. He updated the pants to complete the uniform. Check it out below.

Bengals: What should the Queen City expect from Trae Waynes in 2021?
The main additions to the defense were defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, linebacker Josh Bynes and safety Vonn Bell. Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin and his staff not only added great veteran talent, but they also brought in leaders.

Bengals ready to attack 2021 offseason, 'do everything we can to build around' Joe Burrow
The Bengals owned the first pick in the 2020 draft and knew they were spending it on Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. They flipped their own script in free agency, too, spending to improve on the back end of their defense. The combination produced a Bengals team that was not yet a contender, but was competitive -- until Burrow went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Bengals free agency: Not using franchise tag means big market spending
The Cincinnati Bengals offered up a mild surprise Tuesday at the deadline to assign franchise tags, electing not to use it on both Carl Lawson and William Jackson.

Around the league

2021 NFL franchise tag tracker: Chris Godwin, Marcus Maye among players tagged
March 9 was the final day that teams could place the franchise or transition tag tenders on players. Teams can still work out a long-term deal with the tagged players through mid-July. If an extension isn't worked out by then, the player will play the 2021 season under the one-year tender.

Top 101 NFL free agents of 2021: The best players available
Chris Wesseling and I worked together on the Top 101 NFL Free Agents list for the past seven seasons. For years before that, we battled on AOL Instant Messenger over fantasy football rankings at Rotoworld. There's no one I respected more than Wess, which meant there was no one I loved arguing with more. It doesn't feel right doing the rankings without him this year. It may never feel right.

Titans release starting CB Malcolm Butler
Butler arrived in Tennessee on a lavish contract worth $61.25 million that included $24 million guaranteed in 2018. It was a deal that made sense; After all, Butler had started all but one regular season game in his previous three campaigns, and had ascended to a prominent role opposite Stephon Gilmore in New England. His strange Super Bowl benching was merely an afterthought to Tennessee, which was landing a premier free-agent cornerback in the prime of his career.

2021 NFL Draft: Daniel Jeremiah identifies team fits for prospects
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah answered questions for two hours on Tuesday, previewing the 2021 NFL Draft (April 29-May 1 on NFL Network) during a media Zoom call. As you might expect, he offered insight on which prospects could be a strong fit with certain NFL teams. Here's a look at the prospect-team connections Jeremiah made during the call.