Impending IDP Free Agents – Cincinnati Bengals

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There are impending free agents all around the NFL. Here, I will examine how those free agents may affect different teams. Today, we look at what the future may look like for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 2023 impending IDP free agents for the Cincinnati Bengals are opening the door for some young and hungry players. The entire defensive backfield is in flux as three first-string defensive players and another part-time player become unrestricted free agents on March 15 at 4 pm ET. The possibility of these players re-signing with the Bengals also exists.

Cincinnati will have an impactful defense again in 2023, so the time is now to do a price check on the players looking to fill the vacancies.

1. Jessie Bates, S

Bates was drafted out of Wake Forest in the 2018 NFL Draft and absolutely lit up the IDP scoreboards during his first three seasons in the league. In fact, he posted at least 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons. Bates also delivered 31 passes defended, 9 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in those three years. He was selected to the second team by the AP.

The descent started in his fourth year. His tackles fell to 88 (67 solos), and his passes defended fell to just four with a single interception. In 2022, Bates had another decrease in production.

Following a contract dispute and the application of the franchise tag to Bates, he delivered just 71 tackles (38 solos), 8 passes defended, 4 interceptions, and a forced fumble. He has burned the bridge and will likely move on to his second NFL team.

Who benefits if Bates leaves?

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In my humble opinion, the beneficiary of the Bates opening will be Daxton Hill. This past year, he was drafted out of Michigan with the 31st overall pick. In Hill's three years with the Wolverines, he produced 149 tackles (96 solos) in his 32 total games from freshman to junior year. He also delivered 15 passes defended and 4 interceptions, and 3 fumble recoveries.

Hill did not get many snaps as a rookie and might be forgotten in your leagues. He had just six defensive snaps or fewer in 13 games. Hill had one game where he produced just one solo tackle in 20 defensive snaps. His one big snap game was in week 15 against the Buccaneers.

Hill played 66 defensive snaps and delivered with 8 tackles (5 solos). He has proved he can handle the load and likes to tackle. The Bengals' defense has shown they produce many tackle opportunities for their safeties. Do yourself a favor and see if this soon-to-be stud is available.

2. Vonn Bell, S

Bell has been a tackling machine but took a step back in 2022. After producing anywhere from 83-89 tackles per season in his first four years with the New Orleans Saints, he signed with the Bengals on a three-year contract. Bell produced an outstanding 114 tackles (67 solos), 5 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries.

In 2021, Bell dropped to 97 tackles (64 solos), 8 passes defended, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. In 2022, he declined in the tackle area, with Hill producing just 77 tackles (52 solos).

With the decline in each of his three years in production, I feel confident that the Bengals will turn over the other starting safety to another fellow second-year player.

Who benefits if Hill leaves?

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Tycen Anderson was a rookie in 2022 that missed the season due to a hamstring injury he suffered before the Bengals' Week 1 game. The Bengals drafted him out of Toledo in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. At Toledo, Anderson played five years and produced a whopping 233 tackles (131 solos), 16 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.

Anderson has shown he can handle the workload and deliver the tackle production. He is a long shot and likely on your waiver wire, but he is a long shot with better chances of producing than most long shots. If you have the space, grab him and be patient.

3. Eli Apple, CB

Eli Apple just finished his seventh year in the league. He has played for four different teams in those seven years. I believe he will wear out his welcome in two years, and he just finished his second year with the Bengals. He is almost an auto-check on the impending IDP free agents list.

Apple played in nearly 100% of the defensive snaps in 13 games last season. In the 15 games he played, he produced just 49 tackles (35 solos), 1 tackle for a loss, and 8 passes defended. It wasn't the season that had the Bengals wanting to keep Apple regardless of the situation.

Who benefits if Apple leaves?

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Cam Taylor-Britt is the real deal. After not playing in the season's first six games, Taylor-Britt played 60% of the defensive snaps in Week 7. That was enough for the Bengal coaches, as he played 98% or more of the defensive snaps in seven of the next nine games. One of the other two games was 91%. Then he had 78% of the defensive snaps on the other week.

How well did Taylor-Britt perform? He generated 55 tackles (41 solos), 1 tackle for a loss, 6 passes defended, and a forced fumble. The 5' 11" 203 lb CB was a second-round pick out of Nebraska. Not only is he a great size for a CB, but he is also quick and light on his feet. Taylor-Britt ran a 4.38 40-yard dash.

He is most likely on a roster in your league, but do a price check, as his numbers are not mind-boggling if you don't know he did them in just 10 games.

4. Tre Flowers, CB

Tre Flowers was a key role player for the Bengals over the last year and a half. He rarely played more than 20% of the defensive snaps. In fact, he only played 171 defensive snaps in 2022.  With those snaps, he delivered 27 tackles (20 solos), 3 passes defended, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery. He did not do anything special in his limited snaps. The low usage places him as another of the impending IDP free agents.

Who benefits if Flowers leaves?

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Chidobe Awuzie is a veteran who can care for one side of the field. Halloween was scary for Awuzie, as that is the day he tore his ACL. It was halfway through the game of Week 8 against nonother than the Cleveland Browns. After posting 64 tackles (53 solos) in his first year with the Bengals, Awuzie picked up right where he left off.

In 7 1/2 games, he had 35 tackles (29 solos), 5 passes defended, and a forced fumble. The corners will be solid, with Taylor-Britt on one side and Awuzie on the other. Take the discount for Awuzie and start him every week. Others think Awuzie is older than he actually is and discounts his return from a torn ACL. He is only 27 years old, and he will heal just fine.

Thank you for checking out my 23′ Impending IDP Free Agents article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please consider becoming a subscriber!

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