By Paul Wanecski
Another season, another winless playoff record (the last victory was in 1991). In fact, a large part of the Bengals roster was born after 1991, meaning they have never been on this planet during a time when a Bengals playoff win occurred. In the last eight seasons, head coach Marvin Lewis has led his team to the playoffs six times, finishing the regular season first in the division three times. 2016, even with decent production, still earned the Bengals the ninth overall selection in this year’s NFL draft.
Head Coach: Marvin Lewis
Career Record: 113-101-3
Offensive Coordinator (Rank): Ken Zampese
13th YPG, 15th Pass, 13th Run
Defensive Coordinator (Rank): Paul Guenther
17th YPG, 11th Pass, 21st Rush
The Bengals have plenty of salary cap space and to be honest, they would be wise not to spend it this year. With $24m under the cap, coupled with a very quiet free agency period, it appears the Bengals are willing to wait and start building through the draft and not try to pretend to be competitive by spending money needlessly on free agency.
Adam “Pacman” Jones – Being paid nearly $7m this season and next is just too much compared to the production of the 33 year old cornerback. The Bengals are likely holding on to Jones since none of his salary is guaranteed until training camp, where he can fight against the cornerbacks that the Bengals are sure to draft.
Tyler Eifert – The Tight End has had troubling injury history, but when he is on the field, he is a dangerous weapon. If the Bengals are serious about 2018, they will make sure Eifert is locked up soon rather than later to ensure he will be there.
Michael Johnson – Considering that the team is targeting a Defensive End early in the draft, Johnson has a lot to be worried about. He has never been a sack-monster but the Bengals can definitely absorb his salary if they decide to go younger on the edge.
The Bengals biggest lost will beKevin Zeitler. A guard is not normally too hard to replace in the draft, however, getting a player of Zeitler’s caliber in the draft is a pretty tall order if you are dredging the 4th and 5thround for a starter.
Andrew Whitworth doubles down on the offensive line problems. While Whitworth is no spring chicken, losing a starting tackle and guard is hard to overcoming in just a single season.
Margus Hunt and Karlos Dansby are both changing zip codes but replacement level players will match the production lost.
Jonathan Allen (DE/DT – Alabama) After Myles Garrettand Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen becomes the next best fit at Defensive End and is a versatile talent that Marvin Lewis would love to get his hands on.
Mike Williams/Corey Davis (WR –Clemson/Western Michigan) – While I don’t think this position is as bad as others think, it certainly wouldn’t hurt the Bengals to grab either of these targets opposite AJ Green. Rookie Tyler Boydshowed flashes but he is best fit in the slot. Brandon LaFellcertainly won’t be standing in anyone’s way for the #2 spot at WR.
Leonard Fournette (RB – LSU) –Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have had a couple seasons together, but it just didn’t work this year. As both are specific types of players, it made the offense more predictable depending on who was on the field. Fournette removes that problem.
Also, just about any secondary pick would be an improvement here to a very old group. They would be logical targets for Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore, etc.
Kevin Minter takes Reuben Foster off the table for the Bengals this year. Minter is coming over from Arizona and will start immediately, thus eliminating the need to draft an LB high, even with the recent release of Rey Maualuga.
Andre Smith with patch the tackle position for now, but the Bengals still need to find an answer either this year or next year.
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