It's an interesting perspective when you look through it with different lenses. There are 26 unrestricted and restricted free agents set to hit the market next year in Cincinnati, forcing some to approach this season as a final effort with this roster. Does that mean that the Cincinnati Bengals' window is closing? No. Does it mean that the window for guys like Leon Hall, Reggie Nelson and Andre Smith could be closing in Cincinnati? It's certainly possible.
We compared this year's starting lineup with what it could look like next season -- assuming that the Bengals don't re-sign anyone (which is virtually impossible). Obviously there are other factors to consider. There's an NFL draft and contract extensions that will be offered, signed and rejected prior to the start of the regular season.
Cincinnati's wide receiver position, as of this posting, is in serious trouble next season. That will clearly be addressed if there are no extensions. Regardless, this is an interesting (if not fun) examination on one possible future (always in motion, it is). NOTE: There are some positions that have more than one starter -- such as running back where the snaps will be evenly distributed (so says Jeremy Hill) and cornerback, where the team usually uses three cornerbacks.
|Quarterback||Andy Dalton||Andy Dalton|
|Running back||Giovani Bernard||Giovani Bernard|
|Jeremy Hill||Jeremy Hill|
|FB/H-Back||Ryan Hewitt||Ryan Hewitt|
|Wide Receiver||A.J. Green||A.J. Green (tag?)|
|Marvin Jones||James Wright*|
|Mohamed Sanu||Mario Alford*|
|Tight End||Tyler Eifert||Tyler Eifert|
|Left Tackle||Andrew Whitworth||Cedric Ogbuehi*|
|Left Guard||Clint Boling||Clint Boling|
|Center||Russell Bodine||Russell Bodine|
|Right Guard||Kevin Zeitler||Kevin Zeitler|
|Right Tackle||Andre Smith||Jake Fisher*|
- If A.J. Green isn't signed after the 2015 season -- we're assuming that the Bengals will apply the franchise tag.
- Any combination can be used at wide receiver; simply put, we need more information this year to see who rises and falls.
|Defensive End||Michael Johnson||Michael Johnson|
|Carlos Dunlap||Carlos Dunlap|
|Defensive Tackle||Geno Atkins||Geno Atkins|
|Domata Peko||Domata Peko|
|WILL||Vontaze Burfict||Vontaze Burfict|
|MIKE||Rey Maualuga||Rey Maualuga|
|SAM||Emmanuel Lamur||PJ Dawson*|
|Cornerback||Leon Hall||Dre Kirkpatrick|
|Dre Kirkpatrick||Darqueze Dennard*|
|Adam Jones||Josh Shaw*|
|Safety||Reggie Nelson||Derron Smith*|
|George Iloka||Shawn Williams*|
- Any combination could be used at linebacker -- I picked Dawson over Sean Porter at SAM -- and we'd understand if someone would pick A.J. Hawk (knowing the Bengals preference of veterans over youth).