The Bengals made several moves to solidify their roster last night heading into today's first day of training camp at Georgetown. All draft picks are now under contract, some key restricted free agents were signed, and the team dipped into the free agent waters to improve the offensive line. The roster stands at 85 heading into today.
Andy Dalton and Dontay Moch rounded out the draft pick signings, agreeing to terms Friday night. Dalton is expected to split the first team snaps at quarterback today with Jordan Palmer. Moch, a linebacker out of Nevada, will be competing for time at open at outside linebacker with Keith Rivers on the PUP list.
The team also took care of its own restricted free agents Friday, inking center Kyle Cook, linemen Nate Livings and Dennis Roland, and quarterback Jordan Palmer. Cook was the key player to lockup among that group with his experience at center helping Andy Dalton's transition.
In a deal that went under the radar with the NFL Network's "all Nnamdi, all the time" programming last night, the Bengals signed former Arizona guard Deuce Lutui to a two year deal. Lutui was a 2006 second round pick for the Cardinals and is considered a "road grader," something that has been missing in the Bengals running game since losing Eric Steinbach. Lutui should immediately step into one of the starting guard spots with Nate Livings and rookie Clint Boling competing for the other starting job. The upgrade both in quality and in depth for the offensive line should pay dividends this season for a young offense.
The other key move of the day was the waiving of Clint Stitser. Stitser, who stepped in for the injured Mike Nugent last season, was given his release which indicates that Nugent's surgically repaired knee is ready for a full workout in training camp.
The team is still in the market for a cornerback to replace Johnathan Joseph. With Nnamdi off the board, the dominoes should start falling soon. The Ravens Chris Carr and former Buckeye Nate Clements have been mentioned as possible free agent pickups.
The biggest remaining roster question is the situation with free agent running back Cedric Benson. Given his recent assault charges, one has to wonder what the market is for his services. Either retaining Benson or getting one of the remaining free agents (Ronnie Brown, Joseph Addai, or Ahmad Bradshaw) is a top priority for the Bengals. The team is almost $50 million below the salary floor, so for once, money shouldn't be an roadblock in negotiations.
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