Wild-Card Loss Aftermath for the Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have been eliminated from the 2013 NFL Playoffs by the Houston Texans. This was the first time since 1981-1982 that the Bengals had made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and also the second straight time their season ended at Reliant Stadium.
Under Marvin Lewis the Bengals are now 79-84-1 including 0-4 in the playoffs. He is under contract through the 2014 season. What is next for this franchise?
Cincy has several key players that are about to become free-agents. Adam Jones had somewhat of a resurgence in Cincinnati. Terrence Newman, Nate Clements, and Chris Crocker all contributed to the Bengals #7 ranking vs the pass and all of them will be up for grabs. The front-7 was awesome this season, but key contributors like Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilburry, Michael Johnson, Ray Maualuga, Manny Lawson, and Thomas Howard are all free-agents (Howard was hurt in 2012, but he was a key player previous to that).
On offense the team will have to decide if either Bernard Scott or Brian Leonard will be re-signed to back-up BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Field goal kickers Mike Nugent and Josh Brown are also both at the end of their contracts so Cincy has decisions in their kicking game too.
This team could have upwards of $40 million to spend in free-agency, but we see they have several in-house players that require attention first. Especially in the secondary as the Bengals will face the New England Patriots (#4 overall ranked passing game), Green Bay Packers (#9), Indianapolis Colts (#7), and Detroit Lions (#2) in 2013 and they are top-ranked passing games from 2012.
This offense has sputtered in their playoff games, but they are headlined by guys like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green who are really just getting their careers started.