Now that Super Bowl 50 has come and gone, everyone involved in the NFL can begin focusing on the 2016 NFL Season. With about seven months until the season begins on September 8, free agency options and draft pick speculation will be a common concern among all 32 NFL teams. The Cincinnati Bengals have already started picking up some free agents, and the two signings announced Monday are former Baltimore Ravens, one of Cincinnati’s AFC North rivals. The newest members of the Who Dey Nation include cornerback Chykie Brown and offensive tackle Darryl Baldwin.
Matthew Wilson of Stripe Hype is just one of many commentators that have pointed out that the Bengals’ need a cornerback or two between free agency and the draft to add some necessary depth at that position. Currently at CB for the Bengals, Leon Hall and Adam “Pacman” Jones are both a little past their prime — and both are free agents. Even if they manage to keep both Hall and Jones, the Bengals’ pass defense could use a few more fresh bodies.
To that end, the Bengals announced Monday that they have signed four-year cornerback Chykie Brown. Brown was drafted by the Ravens in 2011 and stayed with Baltimore until he was cut in November 2014. He was picked up by the New York Giants the very next day, then released again in September of last year. Brown played college football at Texas and has already earned a Super Bowl ring as part of the 2012 Balitmore Ravens.
Fox Sports also commented recently that the Cincinnati Bengals should part ways with offensive tackle Andre Smith. In 2015, Cincinnati’s first two draft picks were offensive tackles. But even with OTs Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher ready to step up if Andre plays elsewhere next season, the Bengals have already signed another former Raven for their offensive line.
Undrafted offensive tackle Darryl Baldwin signed with Baltimore last year as a college free agent. He played in one preseason game before being cut before the regular season started. If he makes it past the final cut, his first official NFL game will be as a Cincinnati Bengal. In college, Darryl played for Ohio State University, which is about a two hour drive from Cincinnati.
These two signings are the first (small) steps that the Bengals are taking to make 2016 the year they end the streak. Despite having been to the NFL Playoffs for the last five years, no other team in the NFL has gone as long as Cincinnati has gone without winning a post-season game. This year, it looked as though they were going to defeat their long-time rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and win the first post-season game for Marvin Lewis, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
The Who Dey Nation was devastated when the Bengals lost the game despite having the ball, and the lead, with very little time remaining in the fourth quarter. While the schedules for the 2016 NFL Season have not been decided and released, Cincinnati is guaranteed at least two opportunities for revenge against the Steelers next year, as both teams play in the AFC North Division.
[Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images]