CINCINNATI — There's been plenty of talk about what the Bengals should do in free agency.
The legal tampering period begins on Monday at 4 p.m. Free agency starts 48 hours later.
ESPN released an article detailing the "perfect scheme fits" for the top free agents. The Bengals were mentioned as an ideal destination for three different players.
New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney was the headliner. The 28-year-old is the most famous non-Bengals free agent in team history. Fans are hoping that the Ohio-native makes his return in free agency.
"Thuney is a technician up front, a strong positional blocker with the movement traits to pull or climb. And his high-level football awareness shows up in pass protection," ESPN analyst Matt Bowen wrote. "That's a fit for a Cincy offensive line in need of upgrades to protect quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals could use the No. 5 overall pick in April's draft on a tackle, too."
The Bengals shouldn't use the fifth pick on an offensive tackle, unless his name his Penei Sewell, but that's irrelevant to Thuney. Of course Cincinnati should be interested in the top guard on the market, but at what cost?
Bowen also believes Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones would be a perfect fit on the Bengals' roster. Cincinnati selected Jones in the fifth-round (166th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. He developed into one of the most underrated players in the league and was a huge part of the 2015 Bengals team that won the AFC North and finished with a 12-4 record.
Jones signed with the Lions in free agency that offseason and has been productive in his five years with Detroit. He had 76 receptions for 978 yards and nine touchdowns in last season.
"With 18 touchdowns in his past two seasons, Jones has some scoring upside. And we know he can bring a vertical element to the field on deep corners and fade balls," Bowen wrote. "With the Bengals, Jones steps in for free agent A.J. Green to work with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. That gives quarterback Joe Burrow three viable targets in the Bengals' schemed-up pass game, which would allow Jones to also run in-breakers/crossers out of 11 personnel."
Reuniting with Jones would be great, but he's 31-years-old. Cincinnati would still have to take at least one wide receiver in the NFL Draft.
Bowen also believes Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson would be a great fit with the Bengals, assuming Carl Lawson signs elsewhere. He also thinks Buffalo would be an ideal landing spot for the 26-year-old.
Hendrickson posted a career-high 13.5 sacks in 2020, finishing with 25 tackles (12 for loss) and 25 quarterback hits.
The Bengals are going to address the edge position in free agency. That may include re-signing Lawson, but if it doesn't, they may add multiple pass rushers to bolster a defense that struggled to get after opposing quarterbacks last season.
Check out Bowen's entire article here.
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