CINCINNATI — The Bengals lost three wide receivers in free agency, including A.J. Green, John Ross and Alex Erickson.
They are bringing back Mike Thomas on a one-year deal, but they clearly need to add multiple players for that position group to be better than it was in 2020.
Unfortunately for them, there aren't many veterans left. Most of the starting-level receivers on the free agent market have already signed elsewhere.
Sammy Watkins is the best wide-out remaining, but Cincinnati hasn't shown much interest in the former fourth overall pick. He visited Baltimore and Indianapolis this week.
Despite their lack of interest in Watkins, the Bengals are looking for A.J. Green's replacement in free agency according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
"Cincinnati wants to add a third receiver to pair with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. It'll monitor the second wave of free agency for potential options there," Fowler notes.
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Watkins might be the only free agent wide receiver remaining on the market that could realistically slide into Green's role from last season.
The Bengals could make a run at him, even though the Colts and Ravens both brought him in for a visit.
Watkins worked with Bengals head coach Zac Taylor in 2017 with the Rams. He would instantly become Cincinnati's most athletic wide receiver. He only appeared in 10 regular season games last year due to various injuries, but this is the type of low-risk, medium reward signing the Bengals should consider making.
Much like they did with Riley Reiff, adding Watkins wouldn't get in the way of taking a Ja'Marr Chase or Kyle Pitts, but it gives them flexibility to go in another direction with the fifth pick.
The Bengals need more speed at wide receiver. Watkins can help in that department. He's been a reliable downfield threat for most of his career.
Outside of Watkins, there aren't many receivers available that Cincinnati can plan to rely on in 2021.
Demarcus Robinson, Damiere Byrd, Kenny Stills, Marquise Goodwin and Golden Tate are the best wide receivers left on the market (outside of Watkins).
Former Steelers star Antonio Brown is also available, but he's expected to return to Tampa Bay. And even if he doesn't land in Tampa, it's hard to imagine a scenario where the Bengals are interested in the former All-Pro.
Given the market and Cincinnati's desire to add a starting caliber receiver, don't completely rule out Watkins, who's clearly the top free agent wide-out left on the market.
Watch some of his highlights from the 2020 season below.
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