This week, the AFC North blog will take a look at what each team will be facing in terms of its own free agents.
Unrestricted (20): RB Cedric Benson, WR Andre Caldwell, WR Jerome Simpson, TE Donald Lee, TE Bo Scaife, OT Anthony Collins, OL Nate Livings, OL Mike McGlynn, OT Dennis Roland, OG Bobbie Williams, DE Jonathan Fanene, DE Frostee Rucker, DT Pat Sims, LB Brandon Johnson, LB Manny Lawson, CB Kelly Jennings, CB Adam Jones, S Reggie Nelson, S Gibril Wilson, K Mike Nugent.
Need to stay: It's a long list of unrestricted free agents (which includes seven starters), but there aren't a lot of players that you desperately need to keep. Nugent should be among the priorities. He was the league's most accurate kicker until late in the season when he missed four field goals over the final three games. As far as defense, Fanene is a high-effort player who is coming off a career-high 6.5 sacks. Rucker was finally healthy and had his most consistent season. On offense, Collins is a skilled pass protector who couldn't find his way on the field behind Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith. The Bengals could move Collins to guard if re-signed.
Likely to go: Benson is high on this list. The Bengals wanted him to break more big runs. Benson wanted more carries. It looks like this will be a mutual parting. The Bengals need to upgrade at the No. 2 receiver spot after Simpson and Caldwell failed to step up. Williams, Cincinnati's long-time guard, isn't expected to get re-signed after showing his age. The Bengals have to significantly improve at guard, where starters Livings and McGlynn (both free agents) struggled. On defense, the Bengals will also not bring back Adam Jones, who was erratic in pass coverage and made a critical error in the playoffs.