CINCINNATI — The Bengals surprised everyone when they reportedly made star wide receiver Kenny Golladay a contract offer.
Joe Burrow gave his best recruiting pitch and the 27-year-old was interested in coming to Cincinnati, but patience paid off and he signed a huge deal with the Giants.
Where do the Bengals go from here?
All of the tier one free agents have signed, but that doesn't mean they can't upgrade their team with proven veterans.
Here are four players the Bengals should try to sign in the coming days.
Trai Turner, Guard
The Bengals added Riley Reiff to the mix, but they still need to address their poor guard play. Turner is coming off of the worst season of his career, but it's safe to assume at least part of his decline can be attributed to a groin injury that caused him to miss seven games last season.
He's still just 27-years-old and was considered one of the best guards in the NFL when he made five-straight Pro Bowls from 2015-19.
Pro Football Focus expects Turner to get a one-year, $5 million deal. This is exactly the type of low-risk, high reward signing Cincinnati should make in hopes of upgrading the interior of their offensive line.
If they can't get Turner, then there are plenty of other veterans that they could add in free agency, but most would be considered backup, depth pieces.
It's worth noting that Turner "likes" the idea of signing with the Bengals.
Other Options: Larry Warford, Austin Reiter, Austin Blythe, Quinton Spain, Ben Garland.
For more on the Bengals, including free agency and NFL Draft coverage subscribe to our YouTube Channel!!!
Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle
The Bengals signed Larry Ogunjobi, but they need another proven veteran or two at defensive tackle. Like Turner, Rankins is a talented player that has dealt with injuries in recent seasons. Adding him to a line room that includes DJ Reader and Ogunjobi would be ideal. He's appeared in 22 games over the past two years.
“I’m excited [for free agency],” Rankins told Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr. “The Achilles injuries took their time, but I’m rounding into form. I’m feeling good. I’m able to get up and feel like me again. For a long time, after the left Achilles ruptured, then I had to fix the right one before it ruptured, there were a lot of mornings getting up where it was like, Yeah, we’re gonna see about today. Now, I can walk and not think about my Achilles.”
Rankins' best season came in 2018 when he finished with 40 tackles (12 for loss), eight sacks and 15 quarterback hits.
Orr says 12 teams have contacted Rankins. It wouldn't be surprising if the Bengals were interested in the former first round pick. He's arguably the best free agent defensive tackle available and Cincinnati is on the hunt for more defensive line help.
Other Options: Jurrell Casey, Danny Shelton, Mike Daniels, Kawaan Short, Corey Peters
Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver
There's a theme to these potential signings. They're extremely talented, but injuries have impacted their career in one way or another. Watkins is no different. He was a huge part of the Chiefs' Super Bowl run during the 2019 season. He was a difference maker in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, 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 at wide receiver.
Watkins will be 28-years-old in June. The former fourth-overall pick would be a perfect third or fourth wide receiver for Burrow. Head coach Zac Taylor worked with Watkins when he was the Rams' assistant wide receivers coach (2017).
The Bengals don't need Watkins to be a top contributor. Instead, he would instantly become one of the the best third or fourth wide receivers in the NFL.
A signing like this wouldn't impact Cincinnati's draft plans, but it would be a huge boost to their depth and overall talent in the wide receiver room.
Other options: Josh Reynolds, Kenny Stills, Demarcus Robinson, Damiere Byrd.
Aldon Smith, Edge
Smith would be a great fit on a defense that needs to add another capable pass rusher.
The former Pro Bowler returned to the NFL last season after being out of the league since 2015. He appeared in all 16 games, finishing with 48 tackles (five for loss), five sacks and 14 quarterback hits. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Bengals.
He'll be 32-years-old in September, but his body doesn't have the miles that most players have since he was out of the game for four seasons. He would be a great compliment to Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard. A two-year, $14 million deal is realistic for both sides.
Other Options: Melvin Ingram, Justin Houston, Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Kerrigan.
For the latest free agency news, bookmark AllBengals and check out some of our other articles below.
You May Also Like:
Be sure to keep it locked on AllBengals all the time!