Returning to a 4-3 defense appealed to Bengals LB Kevin Minter

CINCINNATI -- Now that the Cincinnati Bengals are three weeks into free agency, they have a more accurate picture of how the roster will look heading into the 2017 draft.

We're taking a look at each position, how it changed in free agency and where it stands now.

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Current Roster: Vontaze Burfict, Kevin Minter, Vincent Rey, Nick Vigil, P.J. Dawson, Marquis Flowers, Bryson Albright

Departures: Rey Maualuga (released), Karlos Dansby

State of the position: Out with the old, in with the new.

The Bengals released 30-year-old Rey Maualuga, a longtime starter at middle linebacker, and allowed 35-year-old Karlos Dansby, a one-year starter at strongside linebacker, to leave in free agency.

Now the position is getting younger with the addition of 26-year-old Kevin Minter, who signed a one-year deal with the Bengals.

Coach Marvin Lewis told reporters at the NFL owners meetings that Minter liked the idea of getting back to a 4-3 defense after playing in a 3-4 with the Cardinals.

"It's an opportunity for him to continue doing the things he was doing in Arizona," Lewis said. "He wanted to play in more of a 4-3 style defense. In his mind, he ended up playing in a lot of nickel defense anyway, so it doesn't matter too much."

The Bengals aren't revealing a set plan yet just how they envision using their linebackers in their base 4-3 defense and nickel yet, but Vontaze Burfict and Minter seem like the most likely candidates to play both sets, with Minter calling the plays.

Nick Vigil should also figure into the rotation.

Maualuga was used sparingly for much of last season, particularly after battling an injury midway through the year. The Bengals should be able to move on fairly easily, although there will be an adjustment period as they try to figure out a new linebacker rotation for another season.