Reports have surfaced that the Bengals are on a short list of teams interested in Rams free-agent running back Steven Jackson. While Jackson's ability to play off-tackle and out of the backfield fits the prototype of what the Bengals need on paper, it's not the right move.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, for all intents and purpose, is the same back as Steven Jackson. They both play primarily between the tackles, making their cutbacks and outside runs more effective. The Bengals announced that they were looking to find a complement to the Law Firm and signing Steven Jackson would essentially be a replacement.
If the Bengals are in the mindset of replacing Green-Ellis, which doesn't seem likely considering the two years still remaining on his contract, they're better off doing so via the NFL draft than free agency.
If the Bengals are to win free agency, they CAN'T sign Steven Jackson.
Another component of that winning formula for Cincinnati comes at the safety position. Reggie Nelson returns, but Nate Clements and Chris Crocker are free agents. They will likely save one of those positions to be filled via the draft, maybe their first pick.
However, the other safety position can certainly be filled via the free agent market. There are several unsigned free-agent safeties, all of whom could contribute immediately to the Bengals defense.
Ravens free agent Ed Reed is the No. 1 safety, but ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio reported that his likelihood of ending up in San Francisco is increasing, especially if 49er free-agent safety Dashon Goldson leaves. Where would Dashon Goldson go?
When asked about where he wanted to play, he said on Sirius XM Sports, "I want to play for somebody who has the potential for getting back to the postseason."
When asked specifically about playing for the Bengals he said "I like those guys down there. I went to school with Reggie Nelson. I played with Nate Clements. I was [in San Francisco] with Taylor Mays, Manny Lawson. I'm familiar with some of those guys. I like how they play."
Goldson would be an amazing addition to the defensive secondary, especially if they can draft a quality safety who can contribute, at least on special teams, from day one. Goldson's impact on the wallet will be much more than a rookie's, however. The good news is that the Bengals have thicker wallets this year.
If Goldson doesn't find a way to Cincinnati, there are myriad safeties to choose from: Cardinals' free-agent safety Adrian Wilson, Packers' free-agent safety Charles Woodson and Cowboys' free-agent safety Gerald Sensabaugh, to name a few.