Something I know we'd all celebrate next season, the Bengals missing the NFL Playoffs. Sure gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
USA-Today is under the belief they will be gone from contention for two reasons:
- The AFC North is a war-zone, with three play-off caliber teams... Also the Browns are there too
- Contract expiration's are not going to help this season
I can only agree with the everything they've said, and it is based on valuable information.
The AFC North is a battle-field, and the health of both Baltimore and Pittsburgh let the cats in the playground. Baltimore practically dealt Team B on the field, and it wasn't pretty. The most valuable starter(s) on the Steelers were never healthy as a trio. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell didn't play 3 games together. One was constantly out, and all suffered because of it. All three showing up with no suspensions to start could get the wheels turning early for Pittsburgh, and it could be bad for the entire division. Baltimore will hopefully be complete by the seasons start and a healthy wide receiver unit could impact greatly.
Spotrac shows the Bengals with around $36 million in cap space for the off-season. Most of the money will be spent taking care of the already talented team built of last season, mixed with trying to keep big name players on the squad.
Bengals upcoming free agents. Marvin Jones and George Iloka are the top priorities with Pacman & Nelson following. pic.twitter.com/uDEdo1CgSl— JG (@JoeGoodberry) January 16, 2016
Both Reggie Nelson and Adam Jones are necessary parts to the Bengals franchise, and $36 million isn't going to cover everything. This is a big list of talented players. Even sitting down at 11 Vinny rey will be important. With Vontaze Burfict's suspension Rey would be needed to the squads needs at linebacker.
Another reason not mentioned is the injury gods were kind to the Bengals. Yes, Andy Dalton went down at the end, but they didn't place 20 players on IR. The Ravens were struck with a fury, and I expect to not be so punished this upcoming season.
I'm not one for such early projections, but the reasons are valid currently. This will be tabled for the moment, until the free agent frenzy and draft happen.