Now that the NFL season has finally ended, NFL teams are looking forward to the next big event: free agency. Free agency starts with teams being able to re-sign and/or tag players already on their rosters. This gives those teams a better opportunity to maintain key players. If I was the general manager of the Cincinnati Bengals this is who I would get rid of and who I would retain.
Notable Players to Let Walk/Cut:
Jessie Bates, FS: A lot of fans around the NFL expect the Bengals to resign the stand-out safety; I am not one of those people. Jessie Bates is a good safety, but I don’t believe his asking price of 18 million dollars a year is worth it, especially when safeties are one of the easier positions on the field to replace.
Germaine Pratt, LB: I love Germaine Pratt; I believe that he is an extremely talented young linebacker who could sure up the middle of the Bengals’ defense if asked to. It isn’t his talent that’s in question or even the cost, it’s the fact he has shown that he wants a big contract, and considering his recent blow-up after the AFC Championship game towards teammate Joseph Ossai, I don’t think keeping him in the locker room is in the Bengals’ best interest.
Joe Mixon, RB: Joe Mixon has been one of the bright spots for the Bengals ever since he was drafted in 2017; Mixon has been popular amongst fans as well as analysts. With that being said, I think the Bengals should cut him. Joe Mixon had a bad year to say the least; he was the most productive he’s ever been in the passing game but he was outperformed by backup Samaje Perine consistently within the run game. Cutting Joe would free up over 7 million dollars in cap and could allow the Bengals to hand out a more lucrative deal to a free agent/current player.
Notable Players to Re-Sign:
Vonn Bell, SS: In my personal opinion, Vonn Bell has outshined Jessie Bates in both of the past two seasons. Not only that, but he’s also cheaper, so I don’t see a reality Vonn Bell suits up for another team next season. I believe his contract will be around 29 million over 3 seasons.
Eli Apple, CB: Despite Eli Apple being widely regarded as one of the worst corners in football, Eli has played much better than that. If Eli is willing to come off the bench and be a depth corner behind Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton, and Cam Taylor-Britt, I see no reason to let him go. If he is brought back, his contract will most likely be around 8 million over 2 seasons.
Hayden Hurst, TE: Hayden was a bright spot this season. After being given a one-year prove-it deal; he did just that. He put up respectable stats and proved to be a bright spot for the Bengals' offense. If the Bengals maintain the veteran tight end, he will probably make close to 15 million over 2 years.
With these moves the Bengals would ensure a positive start going into free agency. It would allow the Bengals to be in a more favorable cap situation, which would help the Bengals hand out contracts to players in need such as Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins.