The Bengals were one of the more surprising teams in 2011 as they went 9-7 and even made the playoffs as a Wild Card team. They lost their playoff game to the Houston Texans but it was a great start for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green.
Heading into the 2012 season the Bengals have quite a few holes to fill and they would be in much better shape if they re-signed some of their own players. Some of the bigger names to head into free agency that played for the Bengals in 2011 are safety Reggie Nelson, guard Bobbie Williams and running back Cedric Benson.
The Bengals are in big need of a guard, cornerback and running back heading into the 2012 season. Guards Bobbie Williams, Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn are all free agents which leaves two players with little to no experience at the guard positions. At running back, they're looking to upgrade from Cedric Benson, who had an off-year in 2011, and at safety, the team needs to re-sign Reggie Nelson who had a solid season last year.
At guard, the Bengals have the money to target Carl Nicks from the Saints and Ben Grubbs from the Ravens, the two top guards in this year's free agency class. At running back, they've been linked to Michael Bush, who did a good job as Darren McFadden's backup in 2011 and is likely looking to start. Even though the Bengals have a lot to work with, they likely won't spend much as they're expected to address all these positions in the draft.
For more on the Bengals, visit SB Nation's Bengals blog, Cincy Jungle.