The Cincinnati Bengals have weathered the first crazy days of free agency. The rumors behind certain players leaving turned out to be more than just hearsay. Bengals brass had to look on as big-name players decided to leave for potentially greener pastures. Bengals fans have become used to the way the franchise does business. They start slow and pick up speed as the period ends. Have they made the right moves so far?
The collective groan of Bengals fans was deafening when the word came that Jones was leaving. The possibility had been there all along, but there was still reason to hope he would stay. The Detroit Lions pulled in the speedy receiver to fill the spot of retired Calvin Johnson. The Bengals didn’t just let Jones walk. The deal given to him by the Lions was matched by Mike Brown.
Per SB Nation, Bengals cash was also in the neighborhood of $40 million. It’s a disheartening revelation for Bengals fans, but it happens frequently during free agency. The money may have been equal, but the chance to get as many targets was not. With A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert roaming the gridiron, there was little chance that Jones would evolve into the no.1 receiver.
When the Atlanta Falcons released longtime receiver Roddy White, they wasted no time grabbing Sanu. Atlanta tossed a contract at him which was similar to that of Marvin Jones. Despite his versatility in former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s scheme, Sanu’s overall opportunities were relatively few with the Bengals. Sanu was largely overshadowed by Green, Jones, and Eifert. Once again the chances of going higher in the offense were very slim.
Much has been said about the Bengals Wild Card loss and Jones’ meltdown. No matter what happened in that game, Jones had one of his best years with the Bengals. This was arguably the most important re-signing of the free agency period. His preparation for games showed up each week. That translated into his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
Signing Jones to a new contract shows that the Bengals are serious about winning. What wins championships? Defense wins championships. Jones was a true lockdown corner and shadowed his opponent like a blanket. Although Jones is 32 years old, he has the conditioning and skills of a much younger player. Jones let Cincinnati fans know he was ready to play, via the Cincinnati Bengals site.
“I’ve got some unfinished business. We’ve got some unfinished business.”
No Bengals player raised as many conversations and questions as Iloka. The rumors were flying fast and furious about his departure from Bengals stripes. It got handled. The Bengals locked him up for five years at $30 million.
Iloka is also feeling the sting of that 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“That was one of the tough things about losing,” Iloka explained. “I really wanted it for the city and I wanted to be here when we did something we hadn’t done for a long time. But I didn’t know if I was coming back. Now I’m back. It’s like I never left… So I want to help us get over that hump.”
The Bengals knocked it out of the park with his contract.
Not much needs to be said on the topic of Rey. Bengals brass let him know how much he means to the organization by giving him a three-year, $11.5 million contract. With Vontaze Burfict suspended for three games to start the season, Rey was a no-brainer. Hopefully, the rangy linebacker will be able to duplicate the success he had last season, during Burfict’s absence.
Free agency is far from over. Up to this point, the Bengals seem to be making the right moves to keep winning.
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