With the Free Agency period quickly approaching, the Bengals have some important decisions on who to keep in orange and white. I have already discussed the defensive line and running backs, but now we will move on to a much more crucial position: Cornerbacks. With the question of what to do with Adam Jones following his latest off-field incident, the position could make or break the Bengals defense next season.

Dre Kirkpatrick

Previous Contract Length: 4 years (rookie contract)
Previous Annual Salary: $2,155,699
Cap Hit: $7,507,000
Age: 27
Priority: Very High

Dre Kirkpatrick has got to be one of the Bengals’ top priorities to re-sign. During the Week 17 match-up against the Baltimore Ravens, Chris Simms referred to Dre Kirkpatrick as a “Top 10 cornerback in all of football” multiple times. While I think that is a bit of an exaggeration, Kirkpatrick is a solid defender and is definitely good enough for the team to want him back. With Adam Jones‘ case possibly going to court, it would be wise for the Bengals to part ways with him. That would hurt, but it would also make Kirkpatrick a very valuable asset to the defense next season, alongside William Jackson III and Darqueze Dennard.

Chykie Brown

Previous Contract Length: 1 year
Previous Annual Salary: $760,000
Cap Hit: $600,000
Age: 30
Priority: Low

Even if the Bengals lose Kirkpatrick and part ways with Adam Jones, they don’t need Chykie Brown. He barely made the 53-man roster this year, and is probably not worth the cost of a full-contract. Dennard, Jackson and even Josh Shaw or Keivarae Russell are more valuable cornerbacks, which will likely result in Brown losing his spot on the roster. He could serve a better role on the practice squad, though.

Brandon LaFell

Previous Contract Length: 1 year
Previous Annual Salary: $2,500,000
Cap Hit: $2,437,500
Age: 30
Priority: Medium

Brandon LaFell signed a 1-year “prove to me you’re worth it” deal last offseason, and I think he proved that he deserves another contract. LaFell raked in 64 catches for 862 yards and 6 TDs, which is his second best season in his career. As a #2 receiver, those are pretty solid numbers. For comparison, Marvin Jones finished his last Bengal season with 65 receptions, 816 yards and 4 TDs as the #2. While it would be nice to have LaFell back, it isn’t a matter of life or death. If LaFell doesn’t return, Tyler Boyd becomes the #2 and Cody Core will move into Boyd’s spot. It also isn’t unlikely that the Bengals look to the Draft for a WR.

Next week, we will discuss the offensive line and Randy Bullock. Until then, stay tuned to the Armchair All-Americans for more NFL coverage.

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