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Draft / F.A. Strategy going forward


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I was just nosing around the overthecap website looking at Bengals players whose contracts are due to expire in 12 months time, and wondered how this would affect the rest of this years Free Agency and this years Draft strategy.

The Bengals have 23 players out of contract next March and will need to start addressing some of the potential holes in the roster sooner rather than later. There's the opportunity to extend some existing contracts this season and we have the rest of this years FA period (but it doesn't look like there's any cash left in the pot), and this years draft as well as next years FA and Draft.

According to current contracts OTC estimate the Bengals will have the 2nd most cap space next year at $75million.

Players out of contract in 2016: (Position) (Current age)

AJ Green (WR) (26)

Mohamed Sanu (WR) (25)

Marvin Jones (WR) (25)

Leon Hall (CB) (30)

Dre Kirkpatrick (CB) (25)

Adam Jones (CB) (31)

Chris Lewis Harris (CB) (26)

Reggie Nelson (S) (31)

George Iloka (S) (24)

Shiloh Keo (S) (27)

Kevin Brock (TE) (28)

Vinny Rey (LB) (27)

Emmanuel Lamur (LB) (25)

Chris Carter (LB) (25)

Jayson DiManche (LB) (24)

Nico Johnson (LB) (24)

TJ Johnson (C - Oline) (24)

Andre Smith (RT - Oline) (28)

Eric Winston (RT - Oline) (31)

Andrew Witworth (LT Oline) (33)

Kevin Zeitler (RG - Oline) (25)

Wallace Gilberry (DE - Dline) (30)

Brandon Thompson (DT - Dline) (25)

Now I'm sure the Bengals will have some idea of which players would be open to an extension, which players they'd be prepared to let go, and which players would like to test the market so this listing isn't by any means the definitive list. It just highlights players/areas where they need to be aware of what is coming up in the future.

Based on the above I'd say they'd have to look at Drafting this year, supplemented by next years FA (cos there ain't any cash under the mattress any more this year) to plug the upcoming holes:-

WR - we all know there's a need here and now

CB - Dre and Dennard are the future but drafting a CB would give cover and allow for Hall or Jones to move on.

S - as above we need cover should Nelson or Iloka move on

TE - hmmm, not sure we need to address this just yet ... I wonder if Gresham will return as the FA market hasn't been quick to snap him up. IF (and it's a huge effing IF with bells on and flashing lights) he can get his head right to keep hold of the ball, stop the stupid penalties, he'd go some way to fulfilling his potential. It all depends on his attitude and development.

LB, - certainly need some cover in depth and with question marks over Burfict this position could be escalated up the draft board.

Oline - Definite need and probably in the early rounds to get the quality player. I don't think we can look at a late-round 3 year developmental project here.

DLine - MJ returning has added quality to the starting line up but some quality in depth would be nice to have.

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The cap continuing to grow will certainly help out, but there are a couple of areas of greater concern to me when looking at 2016.

I'm going with AJ getting tagged before they actually get a deal done, but don't most of the players tagged end up leaving ??

I think they end up picking between Sanu and Jones, with the other walking.

The safety position concerns me from the standpoint of Iloka more than Nelson. Iloka was a 5th round pick and has earned his payday.

I still don't like the Shawn Williams pick and he's more of a SS than a guy to replace Nelson at this point.

Safety needs addressed for sure.

The o-line will be the challenge with 3 starters coming due.

Zeitler is going to cost them to keep and Moobs will be looking to get paid.

I'm hoping Whitworth stays at a reduced rate and Winston is a valuable backup.

I think they address the o-line in the 2015 draft and will again next year.

Gilberry and Thompson don't bother me that much if they should leave.

The LB's are a little more valuable than Gilberry and Thompson, but not by much.

Lamur is the most valued at this point to me.

Kirkpatrick should stay and Hall should pay us to come back in 2016.

I wouldn't mind seeing Pac-Man sticking around either.

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AJ Green $16m franchise tag

Mohamed Sanu or

Marvin Jones 5 years, $20m, $7m year 1

Leon Hall so long thanks for all the fish

Dre Kirkpatrick $6m 5th-year option

Adam Jones 2 years, $5m, $3m year 1

Chris Lewis Harris RFA going nowhere

Reggie Nelson 2 years, $9m, $6 million year 1

George Iloka 5 years, $30m, $9m, year 1

Shiloh Keo who?

Kevin Brock RFA going nowhere

Vinny Rey meh

Emmanuel Lamur meh

Chris Carter who?

Jayson DiManche RFA going nowhere

Nico Johnson RFA going nowhere

TJ Johnson ERFA going nowhere

Andre Smith it’s been real best of luck Moobs

Eric Winston 900k vet min 1 year deal again

Andrew Whitworth 2 years $12m extension, $6m year 1

Kevin Zeitler $8m 5th-year option

Wallace Gilberry 2 years, $5m, $3m year 1

Brandon Thompson meh

That chews up about all the available cap space so it's not totally realistic but it also assumes that AJ, Zeitler and Dre all play under tags or fifth-year options. Extension could drop those numbers. I've also front-loaded the year 1 hits.Tone those down a bit and you get some more room.

There's certainly a lot to do but I don't think the situation is desperate by any means. As for draft implications this year and next, I would say LB, TE, Oline, WR and secondary are all in the mix.

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Oh aye it's not doom and gloom at all. There's been "talk" in various places of the Bengals "window closing" after next season ... I'm not sure I subscribe to that theory. Marvin has been good at building through the draft and I hope that will continue in May.

Out of all the players who will be out of contract this time next year there will be some the Bengals don't want for one reason or another, there will be some that don't want to be here and will have a desire to move on, and some that will want to test the market as their agents try to manipulate the biggest payday they can muster for their clients (and themselves by way of percentage fee).

I think a smart draft can plug holes in positions where needed plus add some security to those positions should the incumbents not be here in 12 months time.

This years draft will be very interesting and Katie & Troy will have a fair bit of negotiating to do to retain / try to retain those players the Bengals would like to keep.

A smart draft and some inking of deals could free up next years draft and FA period ....... "window closing" after this year?? Maybe not.

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