The clock has struck midnight, or in this case 4 p.m., and the new NFL calendar year has begun. With the new year comes the start of free agency. The Bengals have as much space under the NFLs 123 million salary cap as any team but their main goal, as stated by head coach Marvin Lewis at the combine, is to sign back as many of their own players as possible.
They will look around at other unrestricted free agents who could fill holes in the secondary, at running back and linebacker but it is not the franchises style to go flashy and big.
They got a few of those deals done before free agency and utilized their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson. Their desire is get long-term deals done with Johnson and right tackle Andre Smith (who is on the open market) and set themselves up to begin negotiations with All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tight end Jermaine Gresham, who can become free agents after the 2013 season.
Also in the back of their ...