The Cincinnati Bengals ended their offseason program on June 15. Here’s a look at how they fared:
Offseason goals/grade: The Bengals wanted to get younger and faster on defense, and add some speed to their receivers group. Parting ways with Karlos Dansby and Rey Maualuga in favor of Nick Vigil and Kevin Minter was a start. Provided John Ross is healthy, he could be the deep threat the Bengals have been missing. They lose points for not addressing their offensive-line issues. Grade: B-
Move I liked: Signing LB Minter. The Bengals' front seven was aging quickly, but they've taken steps to address that by moving on from Domata Peko, Dansby and Maualuga. There's no way to know yet how Vigil will perform at strongside linebacker, but Minter is an upgrade from the aging Maualuga in the middle.
Move I didn’t like: Re-signing Andre Smith to play guard. It's bad enough the Bengals lost two of their best linemen (Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler) to free agency, but their solution to replace Zeitler was to re-sign Smith, a player the Bengals moved on from after the 2015 season. Smith has spent his entire career playing tackle. It seems like the team could have found another experienced guard on the market rather than move Smith to that position.
Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Will the offensive line sink or swim this season? The Bengals are moving ahead with tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher despite a difficult season for Ogbuehi in 2016. That, combined with the move to guard for Smith, presents a lot of questions for the unit. The Bengals allowed Andy Dalton to be sacked 41 times last season. They're going to have to improve that number significantly to make it back to the playoffs in 2017.
Salary-cap space: $18,695,509 (source: Overthecap.com)
2017 draft picks: 1. WR John Ross, 2. RB Joe Mixon, 3. DE Jordan Willis, 4. LB Carl Lawson, 4. WR Josh Malone, 4. DT Ryan Glasgow, 5. K Jake Elliott, 5. OL J.J. Dielman, 6. LB Jordan Evans, 6. CB Brandon Wilson, 7. TE Mason Schreck
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: LB Brandon Bell, TE/FB Cethan Carter, S Demetrious Cox, WR Karel Hamilton, FB Darrin Laufasa, OT Landon Lechler, WR Monty Madaris, LB Hardy Nickerson, OL Kent Perkins, OL Dustin Stanton, DT Josh Tupou, RB Jarveon Williams, RB Stanley Williams
Unrestricted free agents signed: LB Kevin Minter, OL Andre Smith
Restricted free agents signed: OL T.J. Johnson
Players acquired via trade: None