CINCINNATI -- The arrival of combine week, the league's six-day stay in Indianapolis to scout NFL draft prospects, means we are fully into the offseason calendar.
In three weeks we will hit another milestone when free agency begins and teams start making moves that directly affect their salary-cap compliance. So now seems as good a time as any to provide a quick check on where things stand for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Based on figures from both ESPN's Roster Management system and cap-focused website Spotrac.com, the Bengals appear to be in comparatively solid cap shape. Will their space be enough to retain several of the 15 players who will be free agents as of March 9? That's the big question.
ESPN's Roster Management system has the Bengals with about $37.4 million in available cap space, and Spotrac.com has them with about $37.6 million. Those estimates are based on the growing belief that all teams will have somewhere around $154 million at their discretion this year. The exact cap limit for the 2016 season has not yet been determined, but will be within the next couple of weeks.
If cap projections remain consistent, the Bengals appear slated to enter free agency with the 10th-most available space of any team. As we've discussed in the past, though, the Bengals account for other salary-related costs within their cap availability, like signing a practice squad and inking to-be-drafted players. In their eyes, that $37.4 million is actually a slightly lower number because of other obligations which will come later in the year.
Below is a position-by-position look at where the Bengals' 2016 cap commitments currently stand, according to ESPN's Roster Management system. In parentheses are numbers denoting the Bengals' rank in cap commitments compared to other teams. These numbers, of course, don't include players whose contracts will expire next month.
Quarterback -- $14,270,413 (20th)
Running back -- $4,605,777 (17th)
Wide receiver -- $14,602,232 (19th)
Tight end -- $4,970,877 (20th)
Offensive line -- $25,521,660 (7th)
Defensive end -- $14,910,844 (13th)
Defensive tackle -- $13,775,000 (4th)
Linebacker -- $12,109,532 (22nd)
Safety -- $1,378,644 (31st)
Cornerback -- $11,786,494 (18th)
Specialists (kicker, punter, long snapper) -- $6,045,000 (10th)
Offense total: $63,970,959 (17th)
Defense total: $53,960,514 (21st)