In the past, the Cincinnati Bengals have often been the butt of many jokes when it comes to NFL Free Agency. The front office seldom brings in new talent during this period and their own fans end up largely disappointed.
That has been the case for many years but it seems that thing may be changing starting now. Through six days of the legal tampering period and four days of official free agency, the Bengals have been surprisingly active with signing some big-name talent. After an abysmal 2-14 season, it looks like that may have been just what the doctor ordered to wake up the Cincinnati front office.
The first massive signing for the team was adding former Houston Texans defensive lineman, D.J. Reader. Reader signed a four-year, $53 million deal with the team and will make an impact right away. He will line up with the likes of Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Sam Hubbard, and others to improves the non-existent pass rush from last season.
With his size, he will make a massive impact for run game as well.
The next big name coming to Cincinnati is former Vikings cornerback, Trae Waynes. It can be argued that Waynes’ deal was a bit pricey at $42 million over three years, but the deal is front-loaded in a way that actually does not hurt the Bengals as much as people believe.
Cincinnati finished the 2019 season ranked 20th in terms of passing yards allowed. Constant miscommunication and lack of the right talent could consistently be seen on Sunday afternoons with this team.
Bringing in Waynes adds a bit of uncertainty as to who will start with studs like William Jackson and veteran Dre Kirkpatrick in the mix, but moves will be made to make sure the newcomer sees the field a lot.
The next signing was another former Houston Texan and also a member of the Cowboys, offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo. Su’a-Filo is most likely not the starting guard when the 2020 season begins, but it does add depth to an offensive line unit that has been very vanilla for the past few years.
As it seemed they may be done, the Bengals again went to the cornerback pool of the Minnesota Vikings and grabbed Mackensie Alexander on a steal of a deal at one year, $4 million.
Alexander adds depth to the Cincinnati defensive backfield, as well as an aggressive style of play that this team desperately needs.
For one of the the first times in my life, the Bengals front office decided not to sit on their hands as the rest of the league picked up pieces for success. Cincinnati decided to be aggressive and brought in some high-level talent that will play right away. The team has gotten stale for the past few years and has not been able to get over 7 wins in a season since 2015.
Bengals fans everywhere are hoping that the franchise is ready to change behind second-year coach, Zac Taylor, and the presumptive first overall pick in Joe Burrow.