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Cincinnati Bengals 2022 free agency outlook

The Bengals head into 2022 free agency coming off an 10-7 season. We break down their free agents, cap space, and more.

Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts with his team following an interception during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals had amazing 2021 season that saw them win the AFC North, AFC, and make it to Super Bowl 56 to play the Los Angeles Rams. However, the Bengals could not have a storybook ending as the lost by three points in the Super Bowl. It was complete turnaround from Cincy, who only won four games in Joe Burrow’s rookie season in 2020.

The Bengals have a few noticeable free agents that they’ll have to make a tough decision on. But the good news is Cincinnati has a good amount of cap scape at their disposal.

Last season’s salary cap number dropped to $182.5 million as the league dealt with the pandemic, but the 2022 cap is expected to rebound back up to $208 million, according to Over The Cap. That increase should loosen a few team pocketbooks this offseason.

Franchise/Transition Tag possibilities

If the Bengals cannot come to terms on a contract with standout safety Jessie Bates, then they could use the franchise tag at $12.9 million. The veteran safety’s calculated market value is a five-year deal worth $72.4 million ($14.4M AAV), according to Spotrac. Bates has been one of the constants in the Bengals’ secondary and is rising up in the ranks.

Another possibility for the franchise tag is Uzomah, who become a viable option in the Bengals’ passing game. The projected franchise tag for tight ends this offseason is $10.9 million. Uzomah’s calculated market value is a three-year deal worth $24 million. He will likely get a pay upgrade after recording a career-high 49 receptions (63 targets) for 493 yards and five touchdowns.

Salary cap

Estimated 2022 cap space: ($57.3 million)

Notable unrestricted free agents

Cincinnati Bengals 2022 UFAs

Player Pos. 2021 Team Snaps Age 2022 Team
Player Pos. 2021 Team Snaps Age 2022 Team
Quinton Spain LG Bengals 90.60% 31
Eli Apple CB Bengals 87.20% 27
Jessie Bates III S Bengals 84.90% 25
C.J. Uzomah TE Bengals 73.00% 29
Riley Reiff RT Bengals 64.70% 34
Larry Ogunjobi IDL Bengals 64.50% 28
B.J. Hill IDL Bengals 44.70% 27
Vernon Hargreaves CB Bengals 34.10% 27
Tre Flowers CB Bengals 32.40% 27
Clark Harris LS Bengals 29.60% 38
Kevin Huber P Bengals 29.60% 37
Ricardo Allen S Bengals 15.20% 31
Mike Thomas WR Bengals 12.90% 28
Auden Tate WR Bengals 10.50% 25
Zach Kerr IDL Bengals 9.30% 32
Brandon Allen QB Bengals 8.40% 30
Darius Phillips CB Bengals 8.00% 27
Michael Thomas S Bengals 7.80% 33
Jordan Evans LB Bengals 3.90% 27