The next big thing: Bengals

CINCINNATI -- As the Cincinnati Bengals move on from yet another disappointing first-round playoff exit, they look to their immediate future. It's one that includes free-agent signings, pre-draft scouting and work behind closed doors putting into place the outline of two new coaching philosophies.

As offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther begin the process of organizing their new schemes, the Bengals will be trying to figure out how certain players fit within them. Specifically, they'll be exploring the odds of keeping highly priced free agents Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins. Cincinnati would like to re-sign both players, but knows its funds only extend so far. It's doubtful Johnson will be retained after free agency opens in a couple weeks. Odds are little better that Collins remains a Bengal.

How the Bengals proceed with those two free agents will help determine which direction they want to go in May's draft. Signs point to them looking to add a cornerback early in the draft, and bringing in a defensive end and/or offensive tackle if things don't work out with Johnson and/or Collins.