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Three Thoughts on the Bengals Entering Day Two of the Legal Negotiating Period

Cincinnati is still looking for offensive line help
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CINCINNATI — It was a long Monday for many Bengals fans, as they anxiously waited to see what moves the team was going to make following the start of the NFL's legal negotiating period. 

It took more than 10 hours, but they landed Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson after Carl Lawson agreed to terms with the Jets

Here are three thoughts on the Bengals entering day two. 

The Hendrickson Signing Makes Sense

The moment the Bengals didn't place the franchise tag Lawson, there was a real chance they were going to lose him to another team. The Jets stepped up and got the deal done. 

The good news is the Bengals acted fast and landed Hendrickson, a player that they had been negotiating with throughout the day. 

Bengals ownership "really stepped up to meet Trey Hendrickson at the number" according to NFL reporter Josina Anderson. 

That's a positive development and something that needs to continue for the remainder of free agency if they're going to make the necessary upgrades to their roster. 

Offensive Line Check

The Bengals didn't land Joe Thuney or Corey Linsley. They were in on Kevin Zeitler, but Baltimore landed the former first rounder. Andrew Norwell "coming home" would be a great story, but he's staying in Jacksonville

Cincinnati failed to address their biggest weakness. Even a consolation prize like Matt Feiler signed elsewhere.

So where do the Bengals go from here? Can they still field a competent offensive line next season? 

There are still plenty of quality options in free agency, but the Bengals would help their cause if they landed a few on Tuesday. 

Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner should be high on the Bengals' priority list. The same goes for veterans like Rick Wagner, Riley Reiff and Gabe Jackson, who is expected to be released by the Raiders. 

Cincinnati doesn't appear to be in the Trent Williams sweepstakes, even though he's clearly the top free agent offensive lineman. 

That means they should attack their biggest weakness with multiple proven veterans. Landing a trio of Turner, Wagner and Jackson would be ideal. 

The Bengals could also go after a higher end veteran tackle like Russell Okung. His market might not be as fruitful as expected with so many quality offensive tackles available in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Cincinnati can still make significant upgrades to their offensive line, but they better do it quick. 

Wide Receiver Standstill 

The top wide receivers are still on the market. Guys like Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller and Curtis Samuel are free agents. 

Outside of Corey Davis, most of the top receivers are available. If the Bengals aren't paying big money for offensive line help, then maybe they can get in on Samuel or Fuller. 

Cincinnati was hoping to land Fuller in the 2016 NFL Draft, but the Texans took him three spots before their selection in the first-round. If he can be had at a reasonable price in the $10-$14 million per year range, then there's no reason why the Bengals shouldn't be in on the 26-year-old. 

The same goes for Samuel, who may have the most upside of any wide receiver in this class. 

Davis signed a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Jets. Signing Fuller or Samuel for that type of money would be tempting, considering how both guys could transform Cincinnati's offensive. 

The Patriots gave Nelson Agholor a two-year, $26 million deal, which is a sign that the mid-market receivers might not offer much value. Instead, of overpaying for a mid-tier player, it may be better to pay a little more to land a top playmaker. 

Signing Samuel or Fuller wouldn't take the Bengals out of the offensive line market. They could still add Turner, Wagner, etc. They probably aren't seriously looking at (Trent) Williams or (Russell) Okung because of money and age. 

Loading up on three third-tier offensive linemen and landing a big-time pass catcher for Joe Burrow could be the way to go. 


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