It’s been a good offseason for three teams in the AFC North. The Cleveland Browns have been aggressive and rebuilt their offensive line. The Baltimore Ravens’ turned an ugly looking offseason into re-signing their top free agent, nose tackle Brandon Williams, and making a splash signing with Tony Jefferson. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been pin-drop quiet but being able to re-sign Antonio Brown and tag Le’Veon Bell is keeping their core intact and making them the current AFC North favorites heading into 2017.
But the Cincinnati Bengals? It’s been the no good, very bad two weeks for them. And some players are making their feelings crystal clear.
This tweet is from the other day but it’s worth circling back to it. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap sent out this tweet on Tuesday.
I don’t see the plan but guess that’s not my role to either.
— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) March 14, 2017
The Bengals have suffered blow after blow since free agency began. Their biggest losses have come along the offensive line, letting Kevin Zeitler leave after his rookie deal and more surprisingly, long-time left tackle Andrew Whitworth bolt for the Los Angeles Rams. Both decisions were met with just criticism.
They also lost DE Margus Hunt to the Colts and Rex Burkhead to the Patriots. The only free agent they’ve signed is Andre Smith, not even considered good enough for the Minnesota Vikings, and is going back to the team who drafted him. The Bengals biggest splash was being able to retain CB Dre Kirkpatrick but there’s no question the team has gotten worse over the last week and is having one of the worst free agencies of any team in the league.
Owner Mike Brown has a reputation for penny-pinching and only seems to be furthering it this time around. Obviously, we don’t do the in-depth analysis like we do for the Steelers but players like Dunlap tell you all you need to know.
Pittsburgh’s free agency has been quiet and the frustration understandable but it’s a moment like this to remind how good fans have it. The Steelers took of their own and weren’t picked clean like the Bengals. By the end of the offseason, they’ll still be viewed as the AFC North favorites and a Super Bowl contender, even if the Pats will still be the favorite for the latter.