The NFL free agency period is two days in, and at this point, things have been pretty quiet for the Cincinnati Bengals. While fans become more and more outraged with each passing hour without a signing, the team continues to feel as though they are right where they want to be. Head coach Marvin Lewis has indicated that the Bengals have a plan, and that so far, things are going according to that plan. He further stated that the priority remained to sign the franchise’s own free agents and build through the draft, a strategy that the consistently good teams employ.
The Bengals haven’t made any splashy signings, but that doesn’t mean that haven’t made any moves. Besides keeping their special teams units intact by re-signing kicker Mike Nugent, punter Kevin Huber and long snapper Clark Harris, they also announced the re-signing of defensive end Robert Geathers, mentioned by coaches as a priority. The next target will be right tackle Andre Smith, who is due a big payday. Talks are ongoing with Smith. The Bengals did make some news today, but in the form of players lost, not gained. Pat Sims, Manny Lawson and Bruce Gradkowski all signed with other teams, while Rey Maualuga is making visits elsewhere. The Bengals, though, remain confident in their decisions.
It’s likely that the Bengals will allow the first big wave of free agency to end, then sign guys for depth, a strategy the team has used in recent offseasons, including last year. Running backs Beanie Wells and Mike Goodson have been in for visits, though no agreements were reached. They had also inquired about Reggie Bush, though he has since been taken off the market. There will be other visits in the coming days, but it probably won’t be from the big-named players fans want to see.
The Bengals will assuredly make a few moves in the 2013 free agency period, adding some guys for depth, with a fair shot at winning a starting job. These signings are often guys who were drafted high, but for some reason, didn’t pan out, and with the Bengals they get a chance to resurrect their career. The bad news, for fans, is that they won’t get to see a star player added, like fans of other teams do. The good news is that building via the draft is the smarter way to do things. With some big contracts upcoming for the team’s core players, Cincinnati needs to be smart with their money, even though it won’t make fans happy.