After key talent losses, re-signing Dre Kirkpatrick was a must for Bengals

The Bengals needed to bring back starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, especially with fellow CB Adam Jones facing a possible NFL suspension for a January arrest. Joe Sargent/Getty Images

A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the Cincinnati Bengals:

Most significant signing: Dre Kirkpatrick. The Bengals have signed one outside free agent (Andre Smith) so far, so their most significant signing comes from in-house. Kirkpatrick has developed into a solid starter for Cincinnati, and with Adam Jones potentially facing punishment by the NFL for his January arrest, it gives the Bengals some stability at cornerback. Kirkpatrick and 2016 first-round cornerback William Jackson III will be the future at that position for Cincinnati.

Most significant loss: Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth was the leader of the Bengals' locker room and is still a very effective left tackle at 35. He signed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Rams. His replacement, Cedric Ogbuehi, has not proven capable of filling his shoes yet. Ogbuehi was benched for his play at right tackle in 2016

Player they should have signed: Whitworth. The Bengals now have several holes to fill on the offensive line, and re-signing Andre Smith, potentially to play guard or tackle, is a poor substitution. The Bengals will have a new starting left tackle, right tackle, and right guard in 2017. Andy Dalton was sacked 41 times in 2016, so it's hard to imagine the offensive line getting better with two of their top players gone.

What’s next: The Bengals brought in former Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin for a visit, but that hasn't resulted in a contract. Barwin could potentially improve the Bengals' struggling pass rush. They have also brought in several linebackers after Karlos Dansby signed with the Cardinals. Former Giants nickel linebacker Keenan Robinson is the most significant of that group to take a visit, but he hasn't signed with anyone.

Overall grade: C-. Overall, the Bengals have not gotten better in free agency, losing two starting offensive linemen in addition to a number of veteran leaders. Kevin Zeitler, Rex Burkhead, Domata Peko, Margus Hunt, Dansby and Whitworth all signed elsewhere, so the team is going to look very different next season. A lot of talent left the building, so the Bengals need to hit on this year's draft.