For many years it seems like free agents were somewhat afraid to take and come to the Queen City to play for the Bengals, a team that has still never been able to win a Super Bowl. Check to NFL Odds to Win the AFC North Division at Mybookie.ag.
This offseason saw the Bengals bring back one of their former players that they hope will make a big impact with the team in 2015 – that being defensive end Michael Johnson.
The Bengals lost Johnson last offseason via free agency to the Tampa Bay Bucs, who inked him to a crazy five-year deal worth close to $45 million.
He lasted just one season there before coming home to Cincinnati. “We’re about to be a part of something special,” Johnson said. “When you’ve got something special, you want to try to keep it going. We’ve got it up here. I’m excited to get back and get it going again and take it to a whole new level.”
Johnson isn’t the biggest free agent to come to the cats this offseason, as on March 10th the team was able to secure the signature of one of the biggest free agents out there – former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk.
Hawk comes home to the team that he grew up watching, and gets a two-year deal worth $3.25 million. “I figured once the (Packers) were done with me, it would be kind of a dream to come back here,” Hawk said after officially signing his two-year contract. “Now it’s a reality. It was 100 percent my first choice.”
The 31-year-old has played in 142 regular season games, which is why the Bengals would only give him two years on a deal instead of longer.
Even Hawk has no idea just how much longer he will be able to go at it 100 percent and play at a high level.
“I get asked that a lot. I honestly couldn’t tell you,” Hawk said. “I want to play as long as I feel like I’m still able to contribute and mentally there. My head feels great. I’ve been very lucky when it comes to that, with injuries and everything. I’ve done my best to take care of myself. It’s hard to put a number on that. I love playing. I have a passion for it. So as long as that’s good, I’m going to try to do give it a shot.”
While Hawk and Johnson should be able to help the defense, they also brought back kicker Mike Nugent. The former teammate at Ohio State for Hawk inked a two-year contract the day before Hawk signed.
What it comes down to is that the Bengals now seem to be a destination for players to come to. They have been competitive in the ultra-tough AFC North, winning the division in 2013 and being a wild card team again in 2014.
Look for more players in the future to look to come to Cincy, and for this team to be on the rise as 2015 gets closer.