Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Bengals spring into free-agency action
By Jamison Hensley
So, I took a shot at the Bengals for shopping at the dollar store for their initial list of scheduled visits (Giants cornerback Aaron Ross, Bears tight end Kellen Davis and Rams guard Jacob Bell). Well, I apologize for speaking too early.
The Bengals have certainly sprung to life on the second day of free agency. They are looking to make a push to upgrade the running back position, scheduling meetings with Oakland's Michael Bush and New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Cincinnati will also host Dolphins defensive lineman Kendall Langford on Thursday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. There is also a possibility that Cowboys free-agent cornerback Terence Newman could visit Cincinnati, per ESPN Dallas' Bryan Broaddus.
These are the most significant visits for the Bengals so far in free agency, but Cincinnati isn't the only team interested in these running backs. Bush is sitting down with the Bears today before traveling to Cincinnati on Monday, according to Schefter. Green-Ellis reportedly has another visit elsewhere, too.
The Bengals are expected to part ways with Cedric Benson but they likely will have a running back-by-committee with backup Bernard Scott. Bush and Green-Ellis are both powerful backs who would complement Scott. Considering the Bengals' salary-cap space -- the most in the NFL right now after Tampa Bay's spending spree -- they should get the running back that they want the most.
As far as Newman, the Bengals are needing to add depth because Leon Hall is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury and Kelly Jennings and Adam Jones are free agents. That's why Cincinnati has scheduled a visit with the Giants' Aaron Ross.
Newman, who turns 34 in September, is a two-time Pro Bowl player who recorded 32 interceptions in nine seasons with the Cowboys. But quarterbacks started picking on Newman late in the season. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has a familiarity with Newman during his time running the Cowboys' defense.
I will take a closer look at the Bengals' running back situation later this afternoon. Until then, I leave you with a parting shot involving Green-Ellis. Yes, the player known as "The Law Firm" is talking to the Bengals. Insert your own punch line here, and don't act like you weren't thinking the same thing.