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Early Offseason Notes: A Look Ahead

Draft Slot Determined: Based on last Saturday’s loss to the Jets and a comparison of strength of schedule, the Bengals were awarded the 21st overall selection in April’s draft.  They have the highest draft pick of all playoff teams.  This is the first year in which draft position for playoff teams other than Super Bowl participants is based upon playoff finish rather than regular season schedule.  New England was awarded the 22nd pick, Green Bay the 23rd, and Philadelphia the 24th

2010 Schedule Strength: The Bengals will face the fourth most challenging schedule next season based on opponents winning percentage in 2009.  The 2010 Bengal foes have a cumulative record of 138-118 (a .539 win percentage).  The Titans and Texans have the most difficult schedule with 2010 opponents compiling a 140-116 (.547), followed by the Cowboys at 139-117 (.543).  Besides the typical home-and-home versus the Steelers, Ravens, and Browns, the Bengals will face the AFC East division (New England, Miami, Buffalo, and the Jets) and the NFC South (New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina, and Tampa Bay).  Additionally, thanks to winning the AFC North this year, Cincinnati will face the division winners from the AFC West (San Diego) and AFC South (Indianapolis).  The actual game schedule will be released later in the spring. 

Roster Moves: The Bengals signed their practice squad players to their offseason roster. The players signed were OT Jason Shirley, WR Freddie Brown, DT Clinton McDonald, WR Maurice Purify, and CB Antonio Smith.

A look ahead at Free Agency: Thanks to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement and salary cap for 2010, several Bengals who would have been unrestricted free agents will be restricted this spring.  Here’s a look at our restricted and unrestricted free agents: 

  • Restricted:  G Evan Mathis, TE J. P. Foschi, CB David Jones, TE Daniel Coats, LB Abdul Hodge, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Rashad Jeanty, and LB Brandon Johnson. 
  • Unrestricted:  G Bobbie Williams, TE Reggie Kelly, DT Shaun Smith, S Roy Williams, RB Larry Johnson, K Shayne Graham, DT Tank Johnson, and FB Jeremi Johnson 

Editor’s Notes:  As for the restricted guys, Mathis, Foschi, Jones, Hodge, Rucker, Jeanty, and Johnson should be resigned.  Coats cannot catch, or block, or hold onto the football and should have been bagging groceries by week 1, and would have been, had it not been for injuries to Kelly and Ben Utecht.  On the unrestricted side, a concerted effort should be made to bring back Bobbie Williams, Roy Williams, and Tank.  Jeremi will likely return, though they should seek improvement there.  It’s unfortunately the end of the road for Kelly, and Graham can’t get out of here fast enough.  Smith will likely not be retained.

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