What Can the Bengals do to Become a Contender in 2018?

How can the Bengals become a contender in 2018?

All indications are that the Bengals could finally be players in free agency this year. As a Bengals fan, however, I will believe it when I see it. We saw the Eagles become almost overnight contenders with a great free agent period last year and a solid draft. The question is, can the Bengals do the same thing?

The Bengals will probably not go the route of signing big name free agents, but let’s take a look at who the Bengals could sign and re-sign.

 

Who should the Bengals bring back?

Jeremy Hill, RB – It is time for the Bengals to let Hill go. With Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard in the fold, Hill is expendable.

Andre Smith, OT – I am not a big Smith fan but I think he might be worth keeping around for purposes of depth along the line.

Tyler Eifert, TE – Eifert is a great player when he is healthy but let’s face it. He is injured more than he is healthy. It is time to part ways with Eifert.

A.J.McCarron, QB – According to what a judge decides, this may not be up to the Bengals, but either way, it’s time for A.J. to go. Jeff Driskel will be the backup and I look for the Bengals to draft a quarterback in the later rounds of this year’s draft or go after a veteran in free agency.

Russell Bodine, C – Please NOOOOOO! Bodine is just not an NFL quality player and it is time for him to go elsewhere.

Kevin Huber, P – Re-signing Huber is the right move. He is a solid punter.

Chris Smith, DE – Smith showed potential this year and it shouldn’t cost too much to bring him back.

Pat Simms, DT – Same as Smith – he shouldn’t cost much to re-sign, so I would re-sign him.

 

Who should the Bengals sign in Free Agency?

Trey Burton, Eagles, TE – Burton was Zach Ertz’s backup in Philly this past season and has shown signs that he could be ‘the man’ somewhere. Ertz missed one game and Burton stepped up to catch two TD passes for a total of 74 yards. He shouldn’t be too expensive and he is young with a ton of potential.

Drew Stanton, Cardinals, QB – Stanton is, in my opinion, a significant upgrade from McCarron and he played well down the stretch for the Cardinals last year.

Ja’Wuan James, OT, Dolphins – James is only 26 years old and is already one of the better right tackles in the NFL. This SHOULD be a no-brainer.

Chris Hubbard, OT, Steelers – Filled in well for the Steelers this past season and could be a solid starter and at worse, an excellent backup.

Josh Kline, G, Titans – Solid guard who could start for the Bengals right away.

Avery Williamson, ILB, Titans – Dominant run-stopper.

Tre Boston, S, Chargers – Great in coverage, which the Bengals need.

 

NFL Draft

Round One – Da’Ron Payne DT, Alabama: Payne adds even more depth up front for the Bengals.

Round Two – Isaiah Wynn, C/G, Georgia- Bodine’s replacement.

Round Three – Terrell Edmunds, LB/S, Virginia Tech

Round Four – Oren Burks, LB, Vanderbilt

Round Five – Jaylen Samuels, TE, N.C.State

Round Six – Holton Hill, CB, Texas

Round Seven – Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn

 

Conclusion

The key to winning at any level of football is on the front lines on both sides of the ball and these moves address Cincinnati’s deficiencies. The Bengals skill position players are good enough to win, they just need help up front. In reality, we know what will happen and that will be nothing or next to nothing, but we can always hope for the best!

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