Cleat Geeks

Bengals sign 2 Free Agents Today

1 For the Defence, Karlos Dansby

karlos-dansbyBorn on Nov. 3, 1981, he is 39 days older than the oldest Bengal, left tackle Andrew Whitworth. His 180 NFL games lead the roster. He’s the only active NFL player with at least 40 career sacks and 15 interceptions in the regular season and with one more pick he’ll be just the fifth player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 20 interceptions.

But he wants the ring. That’s why he said about a month ago when the Browns cut him he wanted to come to Cincinnati. When it finally happened, he had trouble finding the words.

“I really can’t put it into words. You just can’t draw this up every day with the talent level you have on this team and the guys being so close last year,” Dansby said. “It’s a great opportunity with a great team. With a great team, man. Like, you know what I’m saying? Oh, man, this is going to be awesome. I, I, really can’t put it in words, this situation, man. You can’t … you can’t …”

When asked about the AFC North post-season game against the Steelers that ended the Bengals season Dansby said, “It was a tough way to end because they had the game won,” Dansby remarked. “Play here, play there. Flag here, flag there. And you lose the game. It’s a tough pill to swallow. But it’s the truth. They gave one away.”

But as he heads into his 13th season and his fourth stop on one of the most productive NFL tours of this century, Dansby believes he knows how the Bengals are going to react.

“They’re going to have a certain kind of passion, a certain kind of drive for the game that they didn’t have before,” Dansby said, “because they were so close and they know they had an opportunity to win that game they lost. I fit right into that boat. I want to be around guys that have the same kind of mindset. It’s just going to be a better outcome. I know it is.”

1 For the Offence, Brandon LaFell

The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the best passing offenses in the NFL in 2015, especially during the 13 games quarterback Andy Dalton was healthy. Dalton completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 3,250 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions, all of which combined to give him a passer rating of 106.2, second-best in the league. As a team, they had the NFL’s most efficient pass offense, ranking first in Football Outsdiers’ pass DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which adjusts performance for down, distance, and opponent).DaltonCenter

But, two key components of that passing game left the team this off-season. # 2 wideout Marvin Jones signed as a free agent for the Detroit Lions. They also lost their #3 receiver as Mohamed Sanu headed south to the Atlanta Falcons. Still, the cupboard is not completely bare, as the Bengals also have their #1 A.J. Green and their emerging tight end Tyler Eifert.A.J.-Green

And so Wednesday the Bengals responded by signing former Panthers and Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell, per multiple reports that cited LaFell’s agent.

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

LaFell would probably like to forget his four years with the Panthers, catching a combined 167 passes for 2,385 yards and 13 touchdowns. He surged during his first season in New England though, catching 74 passes for 953 yards and seven scores.

LaFell entered the 2015 season looking like the No. 2 receiver for the Pats, but injuries kept him off the field for the first five games of the year and he simply never recovered. He finished the season with only 37 catches for 515 yards, and never found the end zone all season. He also had a disturbing stat last year, he led the league in drops (10) despite playing only 11 games. By the time the playoffs rolled around, LaFell was an afterthought in the New England offense. He caught three passes for six yards in two postseason games and was cut shortly after the start of the off-season.

With backup linebacker/safety Taylor Mays expected to sign soon, the Bengals look to have finished their work in free agency as they now concentrate on preparing for the draft. The acquisitions of Dansby, LaFell, and Mays, along with the re-signings of starting cornerback Adam Jones and starting safety George Iloka as well as regular linebacker Vincent Rey, backup defensive tackles Pat Sims and Brandon Thompson, backup tackle Eric Winston, and backup wide receiver Brandon Tate, figure to account for a salary cap count in 2016 of a little more than $20 million.

The Bengals still have some veterans they highly regard in free agency, such as safety Reggie Nelson, cornerback Leon Hall, and defensive end/tackle Wallace Gilberry. But they’re running out of room on the roster and under the cap as the draft looms. They will have to make some decisions on if they sign the afore mentioned players plus, they hope to extend some players heading into free agency next year.

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