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2012 NFL Offseason: Cincinnati Bengals

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

Cincinnati Bengals (Last Year: 9-7)

2012 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, G Travelle Wharton, DE Jamaal Anderson, CB Jason Allen, CB Terence Newman.
Early Draft Picks:
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, G Kevin Zeitler, DT Devon Still, WR Mohamed Sanu, DT Brandon Thompson, TE Orson Charles, CB Shaun Prater, WR Mevin Jones, S George Iloka, RB Dan Herron.
Offseason Losses:
RB Cedric Benson, WR Jerome Simpson, WR Andre Caldwell, G Bobbie Williams, G Nate Livings, DE/DT Jonathan Fanene, DE Frostee Rucker, OLB Keith Rivers, OLB Brandon Johnson, CB Kelly Jennings, S Chris Crocker.

2012 Cincinnati Bengals Offense:
Five quarterbacks were chosen in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but none of them had more success in the win-loss column than second-round choice Andy Dalton. The TCU product shockingly led his team to the playoffs, throwing for 3,398 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in the process.

There is some cause for concern, however. First of all, the Bengals feasted on an incredibly easy schedule, failing to beat any team that made the playoffs all year. Second, Dalton struggled down the stretch. He threw for more than 190 yards only twice in December and January, and one of the exceptions occurred in a three-interception outing against the Texans in a playoff loss. He also failed to complete more than 58.1 passes in any contest in that span.

Dalton's late-season collapse is a big concern, though there are two things working in his favor. More experience is one. Defeating the stalwart Baltimore and Pittsburgh defenses as a rookie is nearly impossible. Dalton won't be so shell shocked in 2012. Second, of course, is A.J. Green, who has the potential to be one of the top five receivers in the NFL. Green tallied 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns as a mere rookie. He has worked with Larry Fitzgerald this offseason - a sign that he'll make a big leap forward in his second campaign.

Dalton won't have his No. 2 receiver back, as Jerome Simpson bolted for Minnesota. The Bengals consequently spent two draft picks on wideouts. Third-rounder Mohamed Sanu doesn't have any explosion, but can be a solid possession receiver. Cincinnati's front office envisions him as the next T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Marvin Jones, chosen in the fifth round, has more upside.

Sanu and Jones will endure growing pains as rookies, so Dalton would like to have slot receiver Jordan Shipley at full strength. Unfortunately, Shipley isn't 100 percent coming off his torn ACL. If he can't play well, tight end Jermaine Gresham will have to step up. A first-round pick back in 2010, Gresham has been a major disappointment thus far. He was among the league leaders in drops for tight ends last year. Cincinnati acquired the athletic Orson Charles in the fourth round this past April, so look for more two-tight end sets.

The Bengals' problems at receiver and tight end are minuscule compared to those at running back. Cedric Benson is gone, but all they could do to remedy the position was sign BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a product of New England's system, and draft Dan Herron, a running back lacking in athleticism.

Green-Ellis and Herron may not look so bad in Bengal uniforms though because the offensive line is very good. The unit was solid last year, and Cincinnati somehow managed to dump its worst blocker, left guard Nate Livings, while upgrading him with Carolina's Travelle Wharton, who is superior in every sense. The other change is that Kevin Zeitler will replace soon-to-be 36-year-old Bobbie Williams at right guard. Zeitler was a second-round prospect who was a reach at No. 27 overall this past April, but he still could be an improvement over Williams, who was wearing down this past season.

Left tackle, center and right tackle remain the same. Andrew Whitworth, stationed at the former position, surrendered only three sacks in 2011, though he did have too many penalties (8). Center Kyle Cook is average and could be upgraded sometime in the near future. Meanwhile, Andre Smith, infamously known for showing up to the 2009 NFL Draft Combine completely out of shape, finally has his head on straight. He had a solid 2011 campaign and has reportedly slimmed down this offseason.

2012 Cincinnati Bengals Defense:
Cincinnati's reaching the playoffs wasn't just because of Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and a solid offensive line. The defense played a big role, notching 47 sacks (8th in the NFL) and ranking ninth versus the pass (6.8 YPA).

No Bengal pass-rusher reached double-digit sacks, but several linemen were able to apply consistent pressure on the quarterback. The team's leader in sacks was defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who had 8.5 if the one against the Texans in the playoffs is included. Atkins, a mere fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, has emerged as one of the league's premier defensive tackles. In addition to terrorizing opposing signal-callers - 8.5 sacks is a great number for a player at his position - he also shut down the run pretty well.

The three other Bengals who excelled at getting to the quarterback were defensive ends Michael Johnson, Jonathan Fanene and Carlos Dunlap. Fanene signed with New England, which isn't a bad thing because that means the third-year Dunlap will see more action. Meanwhile, run-stuffer Domata Peko will line up at nose tackle next to Atkins, while two rookies, second-rounder Devon Still and third-rounder Brandon Thompson will push for playing time in what is a very deep rotation.

As mentioned, Cincinnati finished ninth against opposing aerial attacks, but that figure would have been better had top cornerback Leon Hall not tore his Achilles in November. Hall was having a solid year, so it's a shame the Bengals didn't have him for the playoffs. An Achilles is usually, but not always, a 2-year injury, so Cincinnati may not have Hall's services in 2012. He hasn't been cleared to practice as of this writing.

Hall's injury is why the Bengals used the No. 17 overall pick in April's draft on Dre Kirkpatrick, a talented corner out of Alabama. Assuming Hall won't be ready by the opener, Kirkpatrick will likely step into the starting lineup across from Nate Clements, who surrendered an admirable 52.3 completion percentage in 2011. Clements, however, will be 33 in December, so he could lose a step at any time. At least the Bengals acquired solid depth at corner by signing Jason Allen and Terence Newman in free agency. Newman looked washed up last season, but he's very comfortable in Mike Zimmer's scheme.

The Bengals figure to have decent corner play, but the same can't be said about their safeties. Free safety Reggie Nelson was solid overall last year, but was completely exposed in run support against Houston's talented running backs in the playoff loss. Meanwhile, strong safety Taylor Mays is a major liability in coverage. He shouldn't be starting for any team in the NFL, but all the Bengals have in reserve are second-year Robert Sands and rookie George Iloka, both of whom were chosen in the fifth round of their respective drafts.

Cincinnati figures to sport a solid linebacking corps even though it shipped Keith Rivers off to the Giants for a fifth-round selection. Rivers had immense talent, but could never stay healthy. Thomas Howard did a decent job filling in for Rivers at weakside linebacker, so the Bengals had nothing to lose. Meanwhile, Manny Lawson was great as a two-down, run-stuffing strongside linebacker. Rey Maualuga, on the other hand, struggled a bit in the middle because of a lingering ankle injury. He had offseason surgery to repair it, so he should be at full strength come training camp.

2012 Cincinnati Bengals Schedule and Intangibles:
The Bengals outgained their opponents on both punt and kickoff returns, as Brandon Tate took one to the house. The opposition scored a touchdown as well, however.

Shayne Graham choked one too many times for Marvin Lewis' liking, so the Bengals opted not to re-sign him in the spring of 2010. Lewis went with Mike Nugent instead. Nugent flopped in New York, so it was a big surprise that he was able to go 33-of-38 with the Bengals last year.

Fourth-year punter Kevin Huber was pretty mediocre in 2011, averaging 44.2 yards per attempt with 24-of-91 boots inside the 20.

As mentioned earlier, Cincinnati feasted on poor opponents last season and consequently made the playoffs. It can do that again early on in 2012, as its Week 2-6 matchups are against the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Dolphins and Browns. Unfortunately, it gets so much tougher after that. Beginning in Week 7, the Bengals have to deal with the Steelers twice, Broncos, Giants, Chiefs, Chargers, Cowboys, Eagles and Ravens.

2012 Cincinnati Bengals Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):

Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2012 Cincinnati Bengals Analysis: The Bengals will find it difficult to reach the playoffs again. Unlike last year, they won't be able to obtain nine victories against teams that will fail to qualify for the postseason. The schedule is much tougher now, and Andy Dalton's late-season decline is a concern. This young Cincinnati squad will likely endure growing pains in 2012, but that could set up a playoff berth the following year.

Projection: 7-9 (3rd in AFC North)

2012 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2012 NFL Season Previews


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@PAM 02-20-2012 10:24 pm (total posts: 1)
31     22

This is why girls shouldn't talk about football. Whitworth to guard?? Are you serious I almost don't even wanna dignify that. Whitworth is a top 5 LT in the league. That is not a personal opinion, taken directly from Pro Football Focus. The top scouting website in the NFL. Go look at it, your ignorance is cute. Our guards are bad? Cook and Livings were our only weaknesses. Andre Smith really came into his own this year as a pass blocker. I disagree with Rick he is not a good fit at guard, he did very well as our Rt last year. So no don't move him inside that would be an extremely dumb thing to do
josh 02-18-2012 11:47 pm (total posts: 1)
23     21

i think the bengals should try an trade for the eagles samuel would be a great pick up would fit in at #2 corner or 1 if leon hall isnt fully heathy hes a playmaker at corner an is a very good player an has been a pro bowler
mason 02-18-2012 01:24 am (total posts: 1)
22     20

nice they brought back hue jackson hes a good coach also im glad he traded for palmer lol
Rick 02-09-2012 02:38 am (total posts: 2)
14     12

Ok, So I am long winded, to say the least. But I like to put it in detail. If you were able to read my last comment without wanting to kill your pc, then read this, I Will try to keep it interesting.
I had put together a few scenarios for the draft, including Mark Barron at #17, Janoris Jenkins at #21, and Kelechi Osemele in round 2 at #53. Those are just me throwing around viable ideas, but you never really know what will happen until April comes around. Even if we do get help at G,S,CB and RB in Free Agency, it's likey we will need to draft at some of those positions considering that free agents don't usually come to the team at the age of 22 or 23. Plus we need depth.
Ok, starting in round 3, I would like to outline a few ideas as to what we could do. Let's take into consideration that drafting a running back in the first round is a taboo in Cincinnati ever since the fiascos of Kijana Carter, Chris Perry and Kenny Irons(2nd rounder, albeit early). I wouldn't condone ever trading up for one. There are many quality backs that could flourish in our system that are 3rd round and below in the projections. I think we should take Doug Martin to go with whoever we may pick up via FA. He could start right away and no size problems. I think with the direction we plan to go with the multiple back rotation, he and maybe a Michael Bush along with Scott and Leonard would be a nice stable for us.

Rick 02-09-2012 02:18 am (total posts: 2)
16     12

I say lets give Robert Sands a shot during Training camp to compete with whoever else we bring in, be it draft or Free Agency. He's a hitter, that's for sure and his college days showed that he was not afraid to come up to stop the run. I also agree with Pam on the OL. Get A Smith into better shape, put him at Guard, and I think with a little work on his run blocking, and more time with Gruden's playbook, Whit could be a great Tackle. Otherwise, Cook is only serviceable, slight in build, and doesn't blow any d-linemen off the line at the point of attack. He doesn't make mistakes that cost you the game, but I have seen him handled like a rag doll at times. The Jury is still out on Boling, however, I think he is not too far from being a starting quality guard. He showed some good techniqe and raw skills at times. Given a full camp, he could surprise or even give great depth for whoever we bring in at the position. Livings....well, he is just not very good. He has had all the chances that nobody else (Evan Mathis) ever gets and has done little with them except for put the Offense behind with idiotic penalties. Has no fundamentals on game day, not strong and relies solely on his technique to try and move a pile, which usually results in him being piled on top of when he has no help from his team mates on plays. Looks to have a crap work ethic as well when you see them at practice. un-cool demeanor. Needs to be gotten rid of or put at the back of the line for depth. Big Bobbie Williams has been here through thick and thin, he has at times, during his prime, been spectacular, nothing short of solid and as good as you could ask for in terms of leadership in the trenches. His age is a major detractor. 36 in September, and coming off of injury, as well as having looked to be running out of gas late in games when he was healthy. I believe that if we do keep him, get him at a bargain pricetag(Ala- Mike Brown specialty!)and use him off the bench and for locker presence. I would love to have a guy like Grubbs or Nicks (or both) join our O-Line. Maybe snag one or the other in FA and hope to goodness that DeCastro is still around come pick 17, and if he's gone I think we could take safety Mark Barron with that pick and safely assume that OG Cordy Glenn will be there for us at pick 21. Another scenario would be that we get Mark Barron at pick 17, and CB Janoris Jenkins very well could be there by pick 21, leaving us open for the possibility to grab Cordy Glenn in round 2 at pick 53 (Likely he will no longer be on the board though), but another guy who could fit our team better, who I believe will be there at pick 53 is OG/T Kelechi Osemele. Why I say this is because he possesses the versatility that we always want from our linemen. He can Play Guard AND Tackle. So he is most likely a better fit IMO because he can start right away at guard, and in the likelihood that A Smith falters at Tackle, we could try Osemele there and put A Smith at guard. Or in this scenario, we could shuffle it in other ways if this draft is the only means which we nabbed an O-lineman. I would love to see us hold onto Anthony Collins. He did a nice job everytime he has been called upon to play. IMO, he is actually better than A Smith at the Tackle position in terms of techniqe, run/pass blocking and explosiveness off the line. And has a way better attitude about putting in the work to become better, though Smith did improve last season. That all being said, We could move Smith to Guard, Whit at Tackle(always), Collins at Tackle, Osemele at Guard and get Hudson, Roland, Boling, and possibly Livings into a competition for depth. Since Mike McGlynn
has played both Center and Guard positions, maybe he could compete with Cook for the starting Center spot. McGlynn has the edge in strength, and soon, Cook will feel the age creep up and will no longer be able to rely on technique as is the case. If Cook were to add a significant amount of bulk and strength train, based on the fact he already knows his job and how to perform technically sound, he could be very good. But it's worth opening up competition in camp. We need to be better at these positions in order to consistently compete in the AFC North.
Pam 02-06-2012 10:25 am (total posts: 1)
13     93

It blows my mind everytime I hear someone go on and on how good our OL is when its actually our biggest weakness. They can't even get a slight push off the line. All the false start penalties not to mention holding penalties shud tell you this line is too slow. So they have to get early jump. Whitworth gets the most bragging and hes probably the worst! He is too slow to play tackle. If they move him to G he wud be fine.
Evan H 01-30-2012 01:26 pm (total posts: 7)
21     11

we need to resign reggie nelson ASAP. something tells me now that he could be heading to the dolphins, since kevin coyle went their now. but i think we really need to get this guy back, because hes getting better
dipanman 01-29-2012 04:36 pm (total posts: 1)
18     9

Whoever wrote this POS evaluation obviously has was either high as all h*** or didn't watch a single Bengals game all year. First off, Leon Hall WILL be back for the 2012 season. Since when has an Achilles injury taken almost 2 years to recover from? Second, our run blocking this year was not "great". It was absolutely horrid. There was no push from anywhere on the line, especially the guard position.
mason 01-28-2012 02:56 am (total posts: 1)
189     144

i believe that if marvin dont win a playoff game this yr he will be let go a mike zimmer will be the new coach cause he will get in all the players faces not just the ds an u will see a all around improvement hopefully it happens either way zimmer coach in 2013 he deserves it
Hawaiian Bengal 01-27-2012 05:18 pm (total posts: 1)
28     14

Through the draft, minus free agency (cuz I doubt that FAs wanna come to Cincinati)

IMO to fill needs:

1 - David Decastro
1 - Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick
2 - David Wilson or Chris Polk
3 - Markelle Martin

- Pass on Trent Richardson please. Rather have the O-line make the running game, rather than the running back trying to make the running game.

- Due to pot smoking and the history of tall corners in the NFL, some quality corners could drop to even the 2nd round. Could maybe even trade down a bit with the 2nd 1st rounder.

- There's talk of Dre Kirkpatrick even becoming a safety now.

Make it happen!
Juniversal 01-26-2012 05:40 pm (total posts: 1)
17     13

I agree with most of the content here in terms of needs but I disagree with a few things. Our run blocking has been pretty bad (some of the blame falls on Ced but Bernard Scott couldn't get any yards behind the line either) and I actually think Reggie Nelson improved over the course of the season (not the other way around).
me 01-22-2012 10:38 pm (total posts: 3)
19     16

Sorry but Leon Hall will not be out till 2013. Thats absurd. He might miss a couple of games next year but that is all. WIth that being said I still think corner is the Bengals number 1 need.
Pete 01-22-2012 03:39 pm (total posts: 6)
12     15

@Leon Hall ACL and Achilles tendon are two totally different body parts. To be fair to Walt, Achilles rehab takes a lot longer than ACL rehab. Shipley is expected back for training camp after an ACL tear in September. Hall's Achilles injury in November is a different animal. His rehab prognosis is great so far, but he still may miss some of the season. There's a pretty wide range of potential return dates.
Funk 01-22-2012 02:10 pm (total posts: 1)
21     17

Terrel Owens?....Huh?
Leon Hall 01-21-2012 11:13 pm (total posts: 1)
18     9

Leon Hall
A ruptured ACL does take considerable rehab, but 2013? No way. He might miss part of the season, but 2013 seems absurd.

2012 NFL Draft Grade: B

Goals Entering the 2012 NFL Draft: Andy Dalton had a surprisingly successful rookie campaign. The Bengals now have to find help for him on offense, namely at running back, receiver and guard. The 21st-overall selection should be used to sign Mike Wallace, there's no question about that. Meanwhile, the secondary needs multiple upgrades.

2012 NFL Draft Accomplishments: So much for Mike Wallace, and so much for a running back. It amazes me that Cincinnati didn't address the position until its final pick (Dan Herron). Do they really think that BenJarvus Green-Ellis can handle the load? Cedric Benson would be a better option.

The Bengals made some great choices late in the draft, but their first round really bothers me. First of all, Dre Kirkpatrick has some work-ethic issues that need to be monitored - though Cincinnati's coaching staff is definitely used to that. Second, the No. 21 selection should have been used on David DeCastro. The Bengals traded down and obtained another guard, but in doing so, they allowed arch-rival Pittsburgh to obtain a player who is projected to be the top guard in the NFL over the next 10 years. I have a feeling the Bengals will really regret that.

It's a good thing that the Bengals had a strong Friday and Saturday. They found help for Dalton (Mohamed Sanu, Orson Charles, Marvin Jones) and made various great value picks. The first round, however, weighs down what is a solid draft overall.

2012 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

17. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama: B- Grade
I'd probably mark this down as an A or A- if David DeCastro wasn't available. I like Dre Kirkpatrick as a prospect, and he fills a need as the only first-round cornerback still on the board. But passing on someone who could be the top guard over the next decade.

27. Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin: C- Grade
Not a fan. Cordy Glenn and Courtney Upshaw were still available. Peter Konz as well. Glenn and Konz could have filled Cincinnati's need at guard, and unlike Zeitler, they would have offered positional versatility. This is the right range for Zeitler, and he'll probably be a good player, but the Bengals probably could have made a better choice.

53. Devon Still, DT, Penn State: B+ Grade
Devon Still was projected by some to be a late first-round pick. He has talent, but he was a one-year wonder, partly because of an injury history. Still, Still (that was fun) offers great value at No. 53. He's worth the risk in the second round.

83. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers: A Grade
This is not a prank call this time! After being tricked into thinking that he would be the Bengals' pick at No. 27 in the 2012 NFL Draft, Sanu finally gets drafted by Cincinnati. The Bengals needed an upgrade at receiver after losing Jerome Simpson to the Vikings in free agency. Sanu could have easily gone in the middle of the second round.

93. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson: A- Grade
Brandon Thompson was once in the discussion to be a late first-round pick. He probably should have gone in the second. The Bengals are getting great value with him at the end of the third. The only reason I'm downgrading this selection is that Cincinnati already took a defensive tackle, but the front office had a bunch of picks to work with, so it's not a big deal.

116. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia: A Grade
Cincinnati didn't have a second tight end, so Orson Charles makes sense in that regard. Charles would have been a second-round pick if he didn't have character concerns, but the Bengals don't care about that. They're getting great value for him in Round 4.

156. Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa: B+ Grade
The Bengals had to double up on cornerbacks. Shaun Prater could have easily gone atop Round 4, so Cincinnati is getting good value with him in the middle of the fifth round.

166. Marvin Jones, WR, California: A+ Grade
A steal late in the fifth round! Marvin Jones is a talented receiver who was overshadowed by Keenan Allen at California, who is a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Jones was ranked No. 89 on Mike Mayock's board and No. 100 on the consensus chart.

167. George Iloka, S, Boise State: A Grade
Credit Charlie for calling that George Iloka would slip in the 2012 NFL Draft because of his really stiff hips. But Iloka has fallen enough; he's really good value here, and he's a perfect fit for Mike Zimmer's scheme.

191. Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State: B Grade
I'm shocked the Bengals waited this long to land a running back. They should have been able to come out of this draft with someone better than Dan Herron, who was No. 195 on the consensus board.

Season Summary:
The Bengals were the most average team in the league last year. They were 9-0 against teams that didn't make the postseason, and 0-8 versus playoff-qualifying opponents. They're really young though, so they should improve in 2012.

Offseason Moves:
  • Bengals announce retirement of G Jacob Bell
  • Vikings sign WR Jerome Simpson
  • Bengals re-sign OLB Dan Skuta
  • Giants acquire OLB Keith Rivers from Bengals for 5th-round pick
  • Bengals sign CB Terence Newman
  • Bengals re-sign OT Dennis Roland
  • Bengals sign G Jacob Bell
  • Bengals cut S Chris Crocker
  • Bengals re-sign OLB Manny Lawson
  • Bengals re-sign DT Pat Sims
  • Bengals sign DE Jamaal Anderson
  • Bengals re-sign OT Anthony Collins
  • Bengals sign DE Derrick Harvey
  • Bengals re-sign CB Pacman Jones
  • Bengals sign RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
  • Broncos sign WR Andre Caldwell
  • Bengals re-sign S Reggie Nelson
  • Bengals sign CB Jason Allen
  • Bengals sign G Travelle Wharton
  • Colts sign G Mike McGlynn
  • Browns sign DE Frostee Rucker
  • Patriots sign DE Jonathan Fanene
  • Bengals franchise K Mike Nugent

    Offseason Needs:
    1. Cornerback: This was an area of strength recently, but Leon Hall tore his Achilles' tendon, so he won't be ready to play until 2013. It's highly likely that the Bengals will spend one of their two first-round picks on a cornerback. Drafted Dre Kirkpatrick and Shaun Prater; signed Jason Allen and Terence Newman; re-signed Pacman Jones

    2. Running Back: The Bengals have a good run-blocking offensive line, but Cedric Benson couldn't take advantage of it. It's hard to imagine Cincinnati not spending one of its first three picks in the 2012 NFL Draft on a running back. Signed BenJarvus Green-Ellis; drafted Dan Herron

    3. Two Safeties: Reggie Nelson is a free agent. Chris Crocker can't be allowed back after his horrible, low-effort performance against the Texans in the playoffs. Robert Sands, a fifth-round pick in 2011, could be one solution. Re-signed Reggie Nelson; drafted George Iloka

    4. Two Guards: It'll be only one guard if the Bengals can re-sign Bobbie Williams. Nate Livings, also a free agent, was easily the worst lineman on Cincinnati's front in 2011. Signed Travelle Wharton; drafted Kevin Zeitler

    5. Wide Receiver: Jerome Simpson is known for that mid-air somersault touchdown in Week 16, but he's an inconsistent free agent. Oh, and he was just arrested for drugs. Idiot. Drafted Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones

    6. Defensive End: The Bengals have a bunch of decent pass-rushers, but none of them are really dominant. Signed Derrick Harvey and Jamaal Anderson

    7. Defensive Tackle Depth: With Pat Sims and Jonathan Fanene hitting free agency, Cincinnati will need depth behind Domata Peko and Geno Atkins. Re-signed Pat Sims; drafted Devon Still and Brandon Thompson

    8. Strongside Linebacker: Manny Lawson will be a free agent in March. Dontay Moch, last year's third-round pick, may not be ready to play in 2012, so the Bengals may want to bring in a temporary solution. Re-signing Lawson for a season or two would work. Re-signed Manny Lawson

    9. Kicker: Mike Nugent went 33-of-38 in 2011, including 14-of-16 from 40-49. He's a free agent. Franchised Mike Nugent

    2012 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Travelle Wharton, G, Panthers. Age: 31.
      Signed with Bengals

      Travelle Wharton is mediocre in pass protection, but he's one hell of a run-blocker. He was cut because he was owed almost $6 million in 2012. Wharton will be a good signing for power-blocking teams.

    2. Jason Allen, CB, Texans. Age: 29.
      Signed with Bengals

      Jason Allen played surprisingly well in Wade Phillips' defense in 2011. He surrendered a completion percentage of only 50.6 and ate into Kareem Jackson's snaps late in the year.

    3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots. Age: 27. -- Signed with Bengals (3 years)
    4. Terence Newman, CB, Cowboys. Age: 33. -- Signed with Bengals
    5. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Colts. Age: 26. -- Signed with Bengals
    6. Derrick Harvey, DE, Broncos. Age: 25. -- Signed with Bengals

    Cincinnati Bengals Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Manny Lawson, OLB, Bengals. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Bengals

      As expected, Manny Lawson thrived in the 4-3. He was a stout run defender as a two-down strongside linebacker in Cincinnati's stop unit.

    2. Mike Nugent, K, Bengals. Age: 30.
      Franchised by Bengals

      Mike Nugent went 33-of-38 in 2011, including 14-of-16 from 40-49. However, he's just 3-of-8 from 50-plus dating back to 2007.

    3. Bobbie Williams, G, Bengals. Age: 35.
      Signed with Ravens

      Bobbie Williams was missed after he landed on injured reserve with a broken ankle in early December. He's still getting the job done as a run-blocker, but he'll be 36 on Sept. 25.

    4. Jonathan Fanene, DE/DT, Bengals. Age: 30.
      Signed with Patriots (3 years)

      Jonathan Fanene's best skill is stopping the run, as you might expect from a 290-pounder. He can also put some pressure on the quarterback, as evidenced by his six sacks in 2011. Unfortunately, he'll be 30 in March, so his best days are behind him.

    5. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals. Age: 29.
      Cedric Benson can be a solid backup running back at this point of his career, but that's about it. Despite playing behind a really good offensive line, he couldn't even rush for four yards per carry.

    6. Reggie Nelson, FS, Bengals. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Bengals

      Reggie Nelson found a home in Marvin Lewis' defense, performing well early on. However, he really struggled down the stretch.

    7. Anthony Collins, OT, Bengals. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Bengals

      Anthony Collins has always played well when called upon in relief the past couple of years. He could start on some teams.

    8. Jerome Simpson, WR, Bengals. Age: 26.
      Signed with Vikings (1 year)

      Jerome Simpson had that acrobatic touchdown in Week 16, but was otherwise really inconsistent. He's still young though, and the talent is unquestionably there. Unfortunately, his alleged drug connections downgrade him.

    9. Chris Pressley (RFA), FB, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals (2 years)
    10. Frostee Rucker, DE, Bengals. Age: 28. -- Signed with Browns (5 years)
    11. Brandon Johnson, OLB, Bengals. Age: 29. -- Signed with Steelers
    12. Nate Livings, G, Bengals. Age: 30. -- Signed with Cowboys (5 years, $19 million)
    13. Chris Crocker, S, Bengals. Age: 32.
    14. Andre Caldwell, WR, Bengals. Age: 27. -- Signed with Broncos
    15. Pat Sims, DT, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals
    16. Kelly Jennings, CB, Bengals. Age: 29.
    17. Dan Skuta (RFA), OLB, Bengals. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Bengals (1 year, $1.26 million)
    18. Pacman Jones, CB, Bengals. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Bengals
    19. Gibril Wilson, S, Bengals. Age: 30.
    20. Bo Scaife, TE, Bengals. Age: 31.
    21. Donald Lee, TE, Bengals. Age: 32.
    22. Mike McGlynn, G, Bengals. Age: 27. -- Signed with Colts
    23. Dennis Roland, OT, Bengals. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Bengals
    24. Nick Hayden (RFA), DT, Bengals. Age: 26.
    25. Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals. Age: 38.

    2012 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon

    Divisional Rival History:
    Baltimore Ravens: Marvin Lewis won six of nine against his former team prior to 2011, but the Ravens swept this past season.
    Cleveland Browns: Carson Palmer was 9-3 lifetime against the Browns. Andy Dalton is now 2-0.
    Pittsburgh Steelers: The road team has inexplicably claimed nine of the past 13 meetings. Go figure.

    Features to be Posted This Offseason:
    1. 2012 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
    2. Detailed season preview
    3. Fantasy football projections
    4. Positional rankings
    5. Daily updates on free-agent signings

    More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:

    DAL / NYG / PHI / WAS /
    CHI / DET / GB / MIN /
    ATL / CAR / NO / TB /
    ARZ / SEA / SF / STL /
    BUF / MIA / NE / NYJ /
    BAL / CIN / CLE / PIT /
    HOU / IND / JAX / TEN /
    DEN / KC / OAK / SD /

    2012 NFL Offseason Pages

    Fantasy Football Rankings - July 31

    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - July 23

    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1

    NFL Free Agents

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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