What free agents should the Bengals retain? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

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What free agents should the Bengals retain?

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The exodus out of Paul Brown Stadium could be more than just coaches and coordinators. 15 Bengals are unrestricted free agents this offseason. That means those players are free to sign with any team without a penalty attached. 

FOX19 NOW Sports Anchor Jeremy Rauch and Sports/Digital Producer Brad Hawley has ranked what Bengals should be the top priority to re-sign this offseason.

According to spotrac.com, Cincinnati will have $30.2 million in cap space to play with in the 2016 season. 

Unrestricted free agents will be able to sign beginning on March 15 at 4 p.m.

Throughout the offseason the list will be updated to correspond with Bengals moves. 

  1. Marvin Jones- Jones is at the top list due to the potential depth issues in the wide receiving corps. A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert will be back in 2016. Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Tate will all enter free agency this spring. The Bengals could address this issue in the draft, but with a new offensive coordinator it will be imperative to bring back a solid No. 2 receiver Dalton trusts. 
  2. George Iloka- The safety position looks a lot like the wide receiver issue. That is why Iloka is No. 2 on our list. Pro Bowler Reggie Nelson is also a free agent but he is going to be 33 next season. Iloka, 25, will be looking for a long-term contract with a good amount of guaranteed money. The upside of signing Iloka would be knowing you have two solid starting safeties for years to come in Iloka and Shawn Williams. The decisions at safety will show how much the franchise believes in Williams and Derron Smith, who was drafted in the 6th round in the 2015 draft. 
  3. Adam Jones- Marvin Jones and George Iloka were slam dunks for the top two spots on the list. Those two could be seen as 1A and 1B. No. 3 is corner Adam Jones. "Pacman" had his best season as a pro in 2015. Jones was looking a pretty good payday, but many believe his stock fell after the incident in the AFC Wild Card game. His age, 33, may also scare some teams away. Jones has said in the past that Marvin Lewis saved his career. Kirkpatrick showed he could be a solid corner and Dennard has shown flashes, but make no mistake, "Pacman" was the best cover corner on the team. 
  4. Reggie Nelson- Nelson made the Pro Bowl for the first time last season. His age (just like Adam Jones) could scare some teams away. What you can't deny is the playmaking ability of the former Florida Gator. Nelson had eight interceptions last season. If the Bengals aren't able to match years and dollars with Iloka, Nelson jumps up to a near priority with the depth concerns at safety. 
  5. Vincent Rey- Rey may be one the most unsung heroes on the Bengals defense and special teams. Rey would have been lower on the list, but Burfict is suspended for three games to begin next season. The Bengals will like to have someone who knows the defense those first three games. Remember, the Bengals went undefeated during Burfict's absence last year. Rey was a big part of the effort. 
  6. Wallace Gilberry- Gilberry is a leader on the defense. The Bengals succeed with the depth on the defensive line. If Gilberry signs elsewhere the depth would take a hit. The Bengals would be showing trust in Margus Hunt and/or Will Clarke that they will be able to take the reigns in Gilberry's place.
  7.  Mohammed Sanu- Sanu, a lot like Nelson, will jump up this list if Marvin Jones signs with another team. The team needs a reliable third option behind Green and Eifert. Sanu could step into that role. 
  8. Leon Hall- Hall has been a cornerstone for this defense for almost a decade. He's reliable and a solid tackler. The Bengals interest in bringing back Hall grows if Adam Jones moves on.
  9. Emmanuel Lamur- Lamur is solid cover linebacker and special teams player. The linebacker depth could be a challenge early in the year with Burfict's suspension. If Lamur walks, it will be P.J Dawson's time to step up.
  10. Brandon Thompson- The Bengals seem to like Thomson as a run-stuffer. Defensive tackle depth could become a source of a weakness. Imagine if Geno Atkins were to get hurt. The Bengals could bring back Thompson and/or Pat Sims or potentially to look to upgrade in the draft. Domata Peko isn't getting any younger. 
  11. Eric Winston- Winston is the NFLPA leader and seems well-respected in the locker room. The Bengals used its first two picks in the 2015 draft on tackles. If the team believes Ogbuehi and Fisher are progressing well, Winston could become expendable. 
  12. Pat Sims- Sims is in the same boat as Thompson, but older. That is why he drops to 12 on the list compared to Thompson. 
  13. Brandon Tate- Reliable return man that doesn't often break the long gain. Would be nice to have back, but this is why the Bengals drafted the speedster Mario Alford last year.
  14. T.J. Johnson- Most underrated position in football is arguably the center. If Bodine were to go down it could be useful to have Johnson back, but could also be addressed in the later portions of the draft. 
  15. Andre Smith- If we were going by strictly talent, Smith would be higher on the list. Smith will be looking for multi-years and guaranteed money. The Bengals drafted two tackles in 2015, and it seems first round pick Ogbuehi will be ready to roll in 2016. The writing was on the wall for Smith when the Bengals re-signed Whitworth for 2016.   

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