Carlos Dunlap doesn't sound thrilled with the Bengals' free-agency moves
The Bengals have seen several starters leave for greener pastures this offseason
The early days of 2017 free agency have seen the Cincinnati Bengals lose several players to other teams, most of them starters or important rotational subs. Two starting offensive linemen defected, with star tackle Andrew Whitworth with the Los Angeles Rams and guard Kevin Zeitler the division rival Cleveland Browns . Running back Rex Burkhead jumped to the New England Patriots . Long-time defensive tackle Domata Peko took his talents to the Denver Broncos , and defensive end Margus Hunt ended up with the Indianapolis Colts . Meanwhile, the Bengals’ only signing of a player from another team is Andre Smith , who is back in Cincinnati after spending 2016 with the Minnesota Vikings .
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap , arguably Cincinnati’s best defensive player, has seen all this action and, well... he doesn’t seem thrilled.
If Dunlap doesn’t see the plan, he might not have been paying attention to how the Bengals have handled free agency since, like, forever. This is what they do. They set their own price-point and let players walk who are even a dollar more expensive. They sign low-cost gap-fillers, eat up compensatory draft picks, and try to replace departed starters with in-house solutions.
Take the 2016 offseason, for example: the Bengals let Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu leave for big-money deals with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons , respectively; they said goodbye to Reggie Nelson ( Oakland Raiders ) and Leon Hall ( New York Giants ), as well as Andre Smith, Emmanuel Lamur , and Brandon Tate . They re-signed Adam Jones , Vincent Rey , Pat Sims , and Brandon Thompson , but their only notable acquisitions from other teams were Brandon LaFell , Karlos Dansby , and Taylor Mays .
Go back through the other years and it’s pretty much the same. They haven’t given an outside free agent more than $4.5 million in guaranteed money at any time this decade, and even that sum went to Michael Johnson , who the Bengals had let walk for a huge deal in Tampa the year before, only to see him get cut and then take a much more moderate deal to return to Cincinnati. Again, this is simply how they operate. Dunlap might not understand it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to change.
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