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Browns 2023 opponent’s offseason review Week 1, 18: Cincinnati Bengals

The Browns schedule starts off tough with their AFC North and Ohio rival

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Minicamps are over. OTAs are over. Training camp is over. Preseason football is over.

The NFL regular season kicks off this week and we finally get to see the Cleveland Browns play football that matters in Week 1 against their in-state rivals. While the Browns were busy adding a ton of players to their roster through NFL free agency, trades and the NFL draft, the teams they will face on their 2023 schedule have been doing the same.

Now, we bring up to date on what is new with the Cincinnati Bengals. Uniquely, the Browns and Bengals will open and close their seasons versus each other. Cincinnati has been the class of the last few seasons in the AFC North but their offseason was an interesting one starting with NFL free agency:

Bengals Departures

  • S Jessie Bates III
  • S Vonn Bell
  • TE Hayden Hurts
  • RB Samaje Perine
  • CB Tre Flowers
  • QB Brandon Allen

The loss of both of the team’s starting safeties could have a huge impact on the defense. In a bit of the “rob Peter to pay Paul” movement, Cincinnati instead spent that money on the offensive line.

Bengals Additions

  • OL Orlando Brown
  • TE Irv Smith Jr.
  • DE Tarell Basham
  • S Nick Scott
  • CB Sidney Jones
  • OL Cody Ford
  • QB Trevor Siemian

In many ways, Brown must be an elite left tackle for Cincinnati’s gamble to pay off. With their key offensive talent coming to the end of their rookie contracts, the Bengals must be smart about their salary cap and Mike Brown’s money.

Bengals NFL Draft

  • DE Myles Murphy, Clemson
  • CB DJ Turner, Michigan
  • S Jordan Battle, Alabama
  • WR Charlie Jones, Purdue
  • RB Chase Brown, Illinois
  • WR Andrei Iosivas, Princeton
  • P Brad Robbins, Michigan
  • CB DJ Ivey, Miami

Cincinnati has done a good job lately at drafting players to play specific roles and planning ahead for losses in free agency. Murphy and Brown, specifically, could be starters by 2024 while Battle will be tasked with helping the depth at safety that was impacted by free agency.

Offseason Overview

The Bengals created holes at safety but are hoping that they’ve planned ahead for those holes including selecting Daxton Hill in the 2022 NFL draft. Overall, Brown has been a good offensive lineman but is being paid to be elite. The Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs were both willing to move on from Brown. That should be a red flag.

Cincinnati didn’t get drastically worse or better this offseason. Slightly younger and shifted around talent. For the best team in the AFC North recently, that could be enough.

As we prepare for Week 1, what stands out to you about the Bengals roster changes this offseason?