2012 NFL Free Agency: 8 Players Cincinnati Bengals Must Let Walk in Free Agency
The Cincinnati Bengals are entering what is possibly the most important free agency period the team has seen in decades. The 2012 NFL free agency class is rich with players the Bengals could pursue, but the team typically likes to deal with their own first.
While it has been widely discussed which Cincinnati free agents the Bengals should retain, there are eight players the Bengals shouldn’t bring back next year. These eight players are likely to be replaced via free agency or the draft.
Whether the reason is age, lack of skill or off the field stupidity, here are eight players the Cincinnati Bengals shouldn’t bring back in 2012:
TE Bo Scaife
Bo Scaife is a seven-year veteran that was placed on injured reserve before the season began. Scaife was supposed to come in and do exactly what Donald Lee ended up doing for the Bengalsprovide a veteran presence in the locker room and be very productive when called upon.
Scaife is on the wrong side of 30 and recovering from a serious injury. The Bengals are obviously happy with Jermaine Gresham and will surely look at bringing Donald Lee back. Scaife unfortunately seems to be the odd man out thanks to circumstances he can’t control.
OT Dennis Roland
Dennis Roland is a solid tackle that played sparingly throughout the course of the 2011 season. When Andre Smith was hurt Roland stepped in, and he was also used as an eligible receiver in heavy packages.
Roland is a better at pass blocking than run blocking and simply won’t see the field often anymore with Cincinnati looking for upgrades almost all across the line. Roland is a low priority for the team with other free agents needing to be brought back first.
OG Mike McGlynn
Mike McGlynn saw playing time early in the season when rookie Clint Boling was benched. McGlynn also finished the final four games of the regular season in place of the injured Bobbie Williams.
Any time McGlynn came on to the field, the right side of the Bengals offensive line deteriorated. McGlynn was mauled by a variety of pass rushers and failed to generate much of a push in the running game.
McGlynn used to be considered quality depth at multiple positions along the offensive line. Multiple teams put in bids for him last year when he hit the waiver wire, and the Bengals won. Now the Bengals would be wise to let McGlynn walk for free.
CB Kelly Jennings
The Bengals acquired Kelly Jennings in August via trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Jennings was slotted to be the third or fourth corner but was thrust into action after Leon Hall went down.
Jennings had 33 tackles and a sack in 2012, and failed to have much of an impact overall. Jennings only has two career interceptions in six seasons in the league and is consistently picked on by opposing quarterbacks.
Cincinnati is vastly looking to upgrade a mediocre secondary this offseason, and Jennings was a major part of the problem down the stretch. Don’t expect Jennings to have a contract with Cincinnati, or anywhere for that matter, in 2012.
WR Andre Caldwell
Andre Caldwell had 317 yards and three touchdowns before being placed on injured reserve this past season. Caldwell has failed in his four seasons with the Bengals to establish himself worthy of a starting role on the outside or in the slot.
Caldwell is slowly being phased out by other receivers like Andrew Hawkins and Jordan Shipley. Shipley is sure to be the man in the slot, and the Bengals are looking to upgrade the number two spot via free agency after Jerome Simpson’s arrest.
Caldwell appeared to struggle to get on the same page this season with quarterback Andy Dalton, Dalton threw most of his interceptions while targeting Caldwell. Caldwell will find a job somewhere, but it won’t be with Cincinnati in 2012.
OG Bobbie Williams
Bobbie Williams has been a main cog of Cincinnati offensive lines for eight years now. Williams missed the first four games of 2011 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances. Williams then broke his ankle in December.
To Williams’ credit the offensive line was much better whenever he was actually playing; it’s just not all that plausible for the Bengals to bring him back. Going on 36, Williams coming back from a broken ankle isn’t likely.
It’s sad to see such a great locker room influence go, but it seems to be the right time. The Bengals need upgrades along the line, and at this point losing Williams is an upgrade.
WR Jerome Simpson
Jerome Simpson had a break out year in 2011 with 725 yards and four touchdowns. Simpson was a great alternative to A.J. Green on the opposite side of the field. Simpson rose to national fame after he flipped into the end zone against the Arizona Cardinals.
It was already in question whether the Bengals would bring back Simpson in 2012, but Simpson decided to make the decision for them. Simpson was indicted on a marijuana trafficking charge and faces one to five years in prison.
Not only will Simpson not be with the Bengals in 2012, he likely won’t be in the NFL. If he manages to avoid jail time, the Bengals need to avoid him.
RB Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson rushed for 1,067 yards and six touchdowns in 2011, but the numbers are a lie. Benson is 29 years old, and his horrible attitude and inability to make a play ensure that Cincinnati won’t bring him back.
Benson was ineffective at breaking tackles, disappointing in short-yardage situations and laughably bad at catching passes out of the backfield this past season. Some of the blame has to fall on the offensive line, but not all of it.
Five fumbles, especially in some critical situations and a measly 3.9 yards per carry average on the season don’t help Benson’s case. The Cincinnati Bengals would be smart to find a new feature back in the draft or free agency this offseason.