Top Three Biggest Needs For The Cincinnati Bengals in Free Agency

Top Three Biggest Needs For The Cincinnati Bengals in Free Agency

Barry Devoe
2 years ago
3 min read
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Isaiah Prince (75) and tight end C.J. Uzomah (87) react to a play late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

The dust has settled on the 2021-22 NFL season, one that culminated with the Cincinnati Bengals falling to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals opened up the playoffs with their first postseason victory since 1991 and fell three points shy of hoisting their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

Cincy is now 0-3 all-time on Super Bowl Sunday, but an overachieving campaign that nearly ended in triumph has provided renewed optimism heading into a compelling offseason.

Next week, the scouting combine gets underway in Indianapolis, followed by a March 8 date where teams can designate franchise and transition players. And then it gets interesting. The legal tampering period will take place between March 14-16 with free agency set to begin at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 16th.

This article could focus solely on one position group, but the defending AFC Champions will have other needs to address, so let’s dive into the team’s three biggest needs in free agency.

Offensive Line

And this is the aforementioned position group. Whether you argue that Joe Burrow’s torn ACL in 2020 and sprained MCL in the Super Bowl was directly or indirectly related to the o-line, the objective remains the same: Protect Burrow, aka the most important player in Cincinnati over the last quarter-century.

Earlier this week, we spotlighted two high-profile options for the Bengals to target at this position group. Terron Armstead and Connor Williams will command major money on the open market, but Cincy needs to be aggressive in their pursuit to upgrade. After all, since Zac Taylor arrived, the Bengals are second to last in the league in block win rate, and you can bet the Dolphins (ranked dead last) will be competitive when free agency opens.

This, by no means, should take Cincinnati’s focus away from drafting an offensive lineman either. Burrow was sacked 19 times in the playoffs and will need all the protection he can get.


Carlton Davis and J.C. Jackson will likely be the two most sought-after corners this spring and at the very least the Bengals should do their due diligence. Eli Apple produced more defaming-memes than pass-breakups and if he didn’t play his way out of town, he certainly talked it.

It’s entirely plausible that Cincy could de-prioritize this need considering how far they advanced despite poor play on the outside. But on the flip side, they may doll out as much cash as possible to fill holes while Burrow is still on his rookie contract.

Re-sign Jesse Bates III

Bates will hit the open market at just 25 years old after the Bengals took him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest. He has emerged as the leader in the secondary, much like Trey Hendrickson upfront.

Marcus Williams will give him a run for his free-agent money in terms of the most coveted safety available, but Bates is younger and Cincy is the best fit schematically. The Bengals will consider franchising him, and with nearly $50 million of available cap space, will have options.

The team’s top-skill position players are all home-grown. Now it’s time to supplement with experienced veterans that can help put them over the top.

Be sure to follow betJACK on Twitter for all of the latest ne ws, odds changes and more during the NFL offseason.

Share article on: