Not too long ago, the recent moves the Cincinnati Bengals made in free agency would have been both shocking and cause for celebration. The team never really spent on outside free agents until last year.
That, of course, is partly due to the team failing to draft well in recent years— instead of giving huge deals to the likes of A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, or Carlos Dunlap, the team is trying stay afloat by poaching talented players from other teams.
Regardless, the team is spending, just maybe not in the right places.
The 2019-20 Cincinnati Bengals had some huge weaknesses at defensive line and linebacker. But the most glaring weakness, the one that ended the rookie season of the most promising player since perhaps Ken Anderson, the one that caused the entire offense to stall, is the offensive line.
And without seriously addressing that, the team won’t earn high marks. Not from PFF, which gave them a “below average” grade, and not from its own fans.
As I write this article, about 51% of the fans on Twitter who participated in the poll I conducted below gave the team a “C” grade in free agency. And 40.7% gave them a “B.” Honestly, I think such a high percentage gave them a “B” simply because they again exceeded overall spending expectations by dishing out a $60 million contract to Trey Hendrickson.
Also, adding Riley Reiff at tackle, a modest signing, felt like a home run simply because of how great the need was.
What grade would you give the Bengals in free agency so far?— Dadio Makdook (@dadiodefacto) March 25, 2021
Some prominent analysts on Twitter also gave the team a “C.”
C -- They failed to add offensive linemen for the future and lost two top free agents on defense while adding one. I've been saying C+, but that's not a B as of now.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) March 25, 2021
You guys are gonna call me negative but I voted "C" - which is a passing grade.— Jake Liscow (@Jake_NFL) March 25, 2021
It's fine, it's not remarkable, and it didn't do enough on offense for my preference, adding pressure to the draft. https://t.co/26R3UfRmqD
Interestingly, the Reiff signing was the best-received by fans. That says something considering the fact that his $7.5 million deal is only worth one-eighth as much as Hendrickson’s.
Which #Bengals FA signing are you most happy about so far?— Blake Jewell (@BlakeJewellNFL) March 24, 2021
In our recent show, we talked to Paul Hirons and Nate Palmer of the widely-popular CinciNatter podcast. They, too, gave the team “C” grades. They are not so sure the team should be okay - which they appear to be - with heading into the season with the same veteran guards (while it’s safe to assume they’ll add guards in the Draft, they may not be ready to contribute immediately). They are also not happy with the losses of Carl Lawson and William Jackson III.
You can watch the entire discussion below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:
What grade would you give the Bengals in free agency so far?
This poll is closed