Occasionally, we'll pause here to take a quick look back at a select few moments in Cincinnati Bengals history.
As you well know, on the field that history has mostly been fraught with pain and defined by losing. But there have been many a joyous day, too, in the nearly 46 years the franchise has operated. We're here to relive it all; the happy times, the sad ones and the ones that simply make the Bengals one of the more unique teams in all of football.
March 10, 2013
We don't have far to go when it comes to looking back on this particular date in Bengals history. Just last year on this very date the organization made a pair of free-agent signings that have had a rather large impact on the direction the team is currently headed.
Exactly 365 days ago, the Bengals re-signed kicker Mike Nugent and defensive end Wallace Gilberry. Both were key signings. In Nugent's case, the two-year deal he inked -- which runs out for the 32-year-old after the 2014 season -- helped lock him up for multiple years after he ended up spending the 2012 season as the team's franchise-tagged player. Gilberry's signing was important because it was one of three moves the Bengals made at defensive end last offseason; moves made with this offseason very well in mind.
As the Bengals were working on ways to retain defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins last offseason, they weren't sure they would simultaneously be able to start exploring negotiating a longer-term deal for Michael Johnson ahead of this free agency season. So, just in case they found themselves in March 2014 exactly where they currently are, they went on and bolstered their defensive end depth by bringing back Gilberry and Robert Geathers and drafting Margus Hunt.
By Tuesday, Johnson may no longer be a Bengal. Although he was given the franchise tag in 2013, the Bengals declined to extend it to him for a second straight year. All this past weekend Johnson's representatives have discussed terms with other teams for signing with them instead. Tuesday is the first day unrestricted free agents are allowed to sign with whichever team they want. If the offers Johnson has fielded over the weekend are as lofty as many anticipate, it's likely the Bengals will be unable to match and will be forced into saying goodbye to him.
But that's why bringing back Gilberry to a three-year deal was important last March 10. It gave the Bengals an additional option at the defensive end position for days like this. At times during the 2013 season, Gilberry wasn't only an extra end option, he also filled in at defensive tackle, playing in certain pass-rush situations after Atkins was lost in the middle of the season to an ACL injury. Although a lot of them came after other defenders flushed quarterbacks toward him, Gilberry still finished tied with the team lead in sacks last season with 7.5.
Nugent hit two game-winning field goals this past season.