Bengals Free Agents 2012: Manny Lawson, Reggie Nelson Only Defensive Starters Slated For Free Agency

Based on expectations, 2011 was a pretty nice year for the Cincinnati Bengals. Coming off a 4-12 season and having a rookie as your starting quarterback are rarely harbingers of success, but the Bengals managed to go 9-7 and qualify for the playoffs for just the third time since 1990. The 2012 offseason is shaping up as a big one, though, as four offensive starters are slated to become free agents.

Among the key players who could leave are running back Cedric Benson (unrestricted), wide receiver Jerome Simpson (unrestricted), guard Nate Livings (unrestricted) and tackle Dennis Roland (unrestricted). On defense it's a much less sketchy situation as linebacker Manny Lawson and Reggie Nelson are the only starter slated to hit free agency. That's undeniably a good sign, as the defense as clearly the strength of the Bengals in 2011, ranking seventh in yards allowed and ninth in points allowed.

Here's a look at the entire Bengals free-agency class (via Mac's Football Blog):

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)

RB Cedric Peerman
DT Nick Hayden
LB Vincent Rey
S Jeromey Miles

Restricted Free Agents (3)

FB Chris Pressley
LB Dan Skuta
LS Clark Harris

Unrestricted Free Agents (20)

RB Cedric Benson
WR Andre Caldwell
WR Jerome Simpson
TE Donald Lee
TE Bo Scaife
OT Anthony Collins
OL Nate Livings
OL Mike McGlynn
OT Dennis Roland
OG Bobbie Williams
DE Jonathan Fanene
DE Frostee Rucker
DT Pat Sims
LB Brandon Johnson
LB Manny Lawson
CB Kelly Jennings
CB Adam Jones
S Reggie Nelson
S Gibril Wilson
K Mike Nugent

For more on the Bengals offseason, be sure to check out Cincy Jungle.

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