Not being in the playoffs is tough, but it can be made easier by watching the players that other teams will have to let test the market and imagining them on your favorite team.
For Cincinnati Bengals fans, the Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens playoff game is full of potential upgrades at key spots of need for the Bengals. Some Texans players were covered in this article for the Texans vs Browns matchup, but there are still others and Ravens players to mention as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the top upcoming free agents for the Ravens and another Texans player worth mentioning in Saturday’s playoff game in Baltimore.
Ravens OG Kevin Zeitler
Of course, Bengals fans who have been around for a bit will recognize this name. The Bengals originally drafted Zeitler in the first round in 2012 but were not open to paying him top-of-the-league money to retain him. A reunion seems much more likely now as he is still playing well, but he is entering the end of his career, and he could help bolster the Bengals’ depth on the interior of their offensive line. However, he’s only played at right guard, and it’s hard to see the Bengals parting with Alex Cappa.
Texans RT George Fant
The Bengals had a solid right tackle this past season in Jonah Williams. It is unclear if he will remain in stripes. On the open market, he can likely get one of the bigger offensive tackle contracts this year, though his play in stripes has not lived up to that cost. If the Bengals don’t retain Williams, Fant should be a cheaper alternative that offers similar play quality and could be precisely what they need so they don’t go into the draft with a glaring hole while also taking a tackle if a good one falls to them. Fant is a perfect fit as an older veteran who has never been spectacular but is not a massive liability and should be cheap.
Ravens S Geno Stone
A former seventh-round pick, Stone finally became a full-time starter in 2023 with the Ravens. He is still young and played fairly well for the Ravens this season, especially in a deep alignment. Both of the Bengals' current starting safeties in Jordan Battle and Dax Hill have played better when in the box or able to come downhill so adding a safety that excels in single high deep coverage would allow them to play to the best of their abilities and offer a lot of versatility to the defense. It is unclear how much Stone will command on the open market as a former seventh-round pick and a one-hit wonder, but it couldn’t hurt for the Bengals to reach out.
Ravens DT Justin Madubuike
Not quite a one-hit wonder, but close to it, Madubuike had more sacks in 2023 than he had the first three years of his career combined. His contract this offseason should be hefty, so this would be a much bigger expenditure than is typical for the Bengals, but if he hits, he could add a lot of energy to the defensive line room. Adding a consistent interior pass rush would help the defensive ends and linebackers greatly, as the Bengals defense would greatly improve overall.
Who do you think the Bengals should add in free agency from these players? One of the Ravens defenders and one of the offensive lineman would be greatly beneficial to the Bengals versatility and depth for 2024.
Let us know who you’ll be watching for in the comments section!