CINCINNATI -- Good morning, everyone.
Here's a quick disclaimer that, like normal, this weekend's Cincinnati Bengals mailbags were pieced together on Friday afternoon. Because of the nature of how cast news changes during free agency, there is a chance that sometime not long after this goes live, news could come available that renders some of answers moot. We're hoping that isn't the case, and that these answers will at least stand for 24 hours before news affects them.
Just keep that in mind. That said, keep it here on ESPN's Bengals blog throughout the weekend for the latest involving Cincinnati's free agency efforts.
Now let's get to this weekend's overflowing Bengals mailbag:
@ColeyHarvey. As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I requested limiting the questions about Michael Johnson for this week's mailbag because I knew so many of you had them. Since Dylan was the first to pose a Johnson-related question, we'll start off with him. Where would I put the chances? It's really hard to say. As I'm writing this, my guess probably will be different than what it will be by Saturday morning, when this publishes and when he's expected to leave Minnesota. That said, I believe those chances look something like this: 47.5-47.5-5. If I had to guess -- without being in Johnson's head -- I'd say the Bengals and Vikings have an equal 47.5 percent chance of landing him, and some other team has a five percent chance. @ColeyHarvey. The Bengals are interested in revisiting the possibility of re-signing Johnson after the defensive end spurned them a year ago for a slightly better deal in Tampa Bay. Once he was released by the Bucs this week, the idea of a return to Cincinnati seemed doable. It's been several weeks, but his agent, former Bengal John Thornton, said publicly he thought Johnson and the Bengals missed one another. There's also the chance that Johnson misses his former defensive coordinator, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer (who was in Cincinnati for all of Johnson's career), too. Still, don't count the Bengals out just yet. If they do lose out on him, the best-case scenario would be to move on the embattled Greg Hardy. The Bengals also could make Detroit Lions restricted free agent pass-rusher George Johnson an offer, but he looks like more of a rotational player. Cincinnati needs a good No. 2 end like Hardy or Michael Johnson. Otherwise, George Selvie could be another veteran free agent, or the Bengals will just have bring in a player through the draft. @ColeyHarvey. Because of the sensitive nature of the charges that Hardy was facing -- domestic violence charges that were dropped -- it'll be hard to convince many teams to go on record and say they're interested in him right now. We also still don't know what further punishment Hardy might be facing from the NFL once he's officially permitted to play again. That could frighten a couple of teams. That said, I can't definitively say whether the Bengals are one of the teams ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday that were interested in him. It would make sense if they are. After all, the Bengals are in desperate need of pass-rush help and, if Michael Johnson doesn't work out, they will need a contingency plan for bolstering their pass rush.
@ColeyHarvey chances bengals get mj?— dylan sampson (@DylanDylan1) March 13, 2015
@ColeyHarvey. To be honest, Nick, there might not be many. The high-stakes portion of free agency appears to be winding down, and most of the still-available, top-earning targets are defensive players. I've been anticipating that the Bengals will be bringing back quarterback Jason Campbell and running back Cedric Peerman for a while now. With the free-agency market for veteran tight ends thinning out, Alex Smith appears to have a chance of returning as the Bengals bolster depth at that position. Aside from those moves, the only other one on offense that makes sense in free agency is going after another veteran tight end. With a pool of college tight ends that's thinner than the free-agency one, it's hard seeing the Bengals using the draft to address that concern. It does look like they'll go after one or two receivers in the draft, though.
@ColeyHarvey Love seeing the Bengals testing free agency to shore up the defense. What offense additions do you see coming in draft or FA?— Nick Sherwood (@Sher_Woodstock) March 13, 2015
@ColeyHarvey. It's hard to see it right now, John. There were reports early in free agency that Cincinnati had Anthony Fasano in for a visit, but he signed with Tennessee on Friday. With him signed, there aren't many others who would be an ideal fit. There is Jermaine Gresham, of course. After being courted all week by Oakland, indications from the Bay Area are that the Raiders are no longer negotiating with his representatives. Would the Bengals take him back then? It seems doubtful on the surface. Some of his actions regarding not playing through injuries in key late-season games bothered many around the team. Jacob Tamme could be an intriguing blocker who is still available. @ColeyHarvey. Sean, I would imagine it will be a player you didn't mention: A.J. Green. He definitely wants a longer-term deal done this offseason, and the Bengals might be better suited to take care of him this year rather than waiting until next year, when he could be due a bigger payday. Aside from him, George Iloka definitely deserves consideration, as would Kevin Zeitler, who will be eligible to receive a fifth-year option next spring along with Dre Kirkpatrick. Financially speaking, it might be better to go on and solidify one of them long-term instead paying both large fifth-year options in 2016.
@ColeyHarvey is there a veteran te that could filter down to Bengals?— John Vincent (@Whodey7) March 13, 2015