The Cincinnati Bengals season is over, but the NFL plays on. As part of Wild Card Weekend, the Miami Dolphins travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs in what could go down as one of the coldest games in NFL history.
While the Bengals aren’t playing, there are plenty of impending free agents the Bengals could be interested in signing once the new year begins.
Here are a few names to consider.
Chiefs DT Chris Jones
Bengals fans know Jones well. He’s been a driving defensive force for the Chiefs and has consistently been one of the best defensive tackles in the league. He’s a great interior pass rusher and is a little more akin to Geno Atkins than DJ Reader, but would still be a great addition to any defense.
Jones signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs prior to the 2023 season worth $19.5 million, which was almost completely guaranteed. He’s 29 but is going to be one of the most sought-after free agents to hit the market. The Chiefs probably can’t afford him. The Bengals probably can’t either.
Chiefs S Mike Edwards
Edwards is coming off a one-year deal with the Chiefs, and in that one year, he was meh. Not great. Not bad. Just meh. In his four years before that as a Buccaneers starting safety, he made 181 tackles, had 21 passes defensed, seven interceptions, and two sacks. He’s not going to be a Jessie Bates replacement, but he’s a veteran-free safety who could help Dax Hill progress. We all know Nick Scott’s not getting it done.
Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins
Listen, if it were up to me, DJ Reader wouldn’t have gotten hurt near the end of the season, and the Bengals would re-sign him when the new league year began. Unfortunately, it’s not up to me. Maybe Reader will be back, but I can almost guarantee he won’t be healthy until the season is well underway.
Because of that, the Bengals may look to free agency to replace him. If Wilkins hits the market, Spotrac believes his contract could be worth $80 million over four years. Again, with Ja’Marr Chase eligible to be extended and hopes that a deal can be reached with Tee Higgins, it’s doubtful.
Dolphins T/G Isaiah Wynn
Wynn went down with a quadriceps injury in Week 7 and spent the rest of the season on IR. If he’s ready when the season starts, at worst, he’s a backup for multiple positions on the offensive line (he’s played left tackle, left guard, and right tackle), and you know how the Bengals love their versatile backup linemen. At best, he’s a possible starting right tackle. This would likely be a depth signing, if it happens, though.
Dolphins WR Chase Claypool
Nah. Never mind.
Dolphins CB Eli Apple
The starting cornerbacks in 2024 are going to be Cam Taylor-Britt, DJ Turner, and Mike Hilton. But what happens if they need a fourth, or one of these guys needs a break, or get injured (hopefully not, but this is football). Apple played his best football while in Cincinnati. Let him come back and be a backup, like he was originally intended to.
Besides, I loved the trash-talking. He’s familiar with the system, he’s known and well-liked. Makes sense to me since Chidobe Awuzie is likely heading out the door.
Who are you keeping an eye on?