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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Chris Roling

Bengals comment on losing Perine, Hurst and Bell in free agency

The Cincinnati Bengals weren’t exactly thrilled to lose some of their own key free agents, especially after stressing consistently that the theme of the offseason would be on retaining their own.

But things can change fast in the NFL.

How fast? The Bengals turned the losses of Samaje Perine, Hayden Hurst and Vonn Bell into…offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan recently shed light on the team’s thought process during the painful losses.

“You are trying to prioritize bringing guys back on deals that are fair and reasonable,” Callahan said, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. “And, then, you don’t get any of them back. You lose a back and tight end and both safeties are gone. But the benefit of that is … ”

As Dehner points out, the total losses on average annual value of new deals for those three free agents totaled just over $18 million.

As it turns out, Brown’s camp reached out to the Bengals, not the other way around. Just like that, they had the cash for a guy they hadn’t even considered as a possibility on hand and it came together quickly.

The nice thing about the balancing of the scales here is the Bengals have options to replace each of the losses. They have Trayveon Williams and Joe Mixon (and Chris Evans) at running back before any signings or rookies. They have free agency and the draft to fix tight end. They already signed Nick Scott to replace Bell next to Dax Hill.

That’s not to say the losses don’t sting and indeed, the team got very lucky here. But the organization sticking to its guns and not overpaying its preferred price ranges despite the offseason’s theme landed them a franchise left tackle.

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