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Three Potential Free Agent Signings for the Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals have an abundance of cap space this offseason. Let's look at three free agents Cincinnati could target.

The Cincinnati Bengals enter the 2024 NFL offseason in a perfect spot from a cap health perspective. Even with applying the franchise tag to star wide receiver Tee Higgins,  the orange and black are still sitting pretty with close to $50 million left to spend since the NFL raised the cap to a whopping $255.4 million last week. The focus now for the Bengals is to look to the free-agent market to bolster the roster with players that can provide an immediate impact this upcoming season. Cincinnati has certainly changed how they operate since Zac Taylor arrived and the team is much more aggressive in the type of player they target. They also have upped their game from a financial aspect as the front office has been more willing to pay more for second and third-tier types. Let’s take a look at three players the Bengals could target as the free-agent frenzy begins in a couple of weeks.

Three Potential Free Agent Signings for the Cincinnati Bengals

Justin Madubuike

The menace in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens defensive line is an unrestricted free agent and one the Bengals could highly covet with the potential departure of DJ Reader. Madubuike had the best season of his four-year career in 2023 with 13 sacks, 12 TFLs, and 33 QB hits on his way to his first Pro Bowl nod. The Bengals badly need juice from the interior of their pass rush and Madubuike could also help against defending the run where Cincinnati struggled mightily last season. If the Bengals were to sign the former divisional standout, it would open their board on draft day and plug a massive hole the team is facing to keep pace in the AFC North.

Noah Fant

One area of the Bengals offense that needs improvement is in acquiring a dynamic pass-catching tight end. Newcomer Tanner Hudson was a revelation in 2023 and they’d be wise to sign him for this season. Blocking tight end, Drew Sample is one of the best in the league but he offers very little on true pass sets. This is where Noah Fant comes in to provide a jolt to the tight end room and help open the middle of the field for the Bengals other receivers in their primary routes. Fant is still a young player at only 26 years old and even though he had his lowest yardage output in 2023, he still seems to have some gas left in the tank to help provide another big-bodied weapon for Joe Burrow to maximize.

Mike Onwenu

The final piece of the puzzle the Bengals may strongly consider adding is former New England Patriots offensive lineman, Mike Onwenu. Cincinnati would likely play him at his original position of right tackle if they don’t retain Jonah Williams. Onwenu is still getting better, much like Fant and Madubuike. The Bengals love the young talent they see as ascending and are looking for a second contract. This is their free agent sweet spot and one they cashed in big when they signed Trey Hendrickson back in 2021. Signing Onwenu on a short-term rental is also an option if he’s looking for a one-year prove-it deal. This would kill two birds with one stone if Cincinnati falls in love with an OT in this year’s draft that they could slowly bring along rather than rush into protecting Burrow.

Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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