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Bengals players who will be free agents in March, ranked

The Cincinnati Bengals enter a key offseason with a huge list of players scheduled to become free agents.

Fans know the big names possibly headed to the market, headlined by Tee Higgins, DJ Reader and a few others.

How the Bengals navigate this upcoming free agent class will heavily influence how the team pursues outside free agents and the overall draft strategy — directly impacting the team’s current contention window.

So here’s a look at the upcoming list of Bengals free agents, ranked by level of importance to the team’s long-term success and the order the front office should probably prioritize them this spring.

20. QB AJ McCarron

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

19. TE Irv Smith Jr.

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

18. OL Jaxson Kirkland

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

17. TE Mitchell Wilcox

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

16. RB Trayveon Williams

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

15. LB Markus Bailey

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

14. LS Cal Adomitis (ERFA)

Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK
Sam Greene/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

13. OL Cody Ford

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

12. OL Max Scharping

Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports
Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

11. LB Akeem Davis-Gaither

Syndication: The Enquirer
Syndication: The Enquirer

10. WR Trenton Irwin

Syndication: The Enquirer
Syndication: The Enquirer

9. DL Josh Tupou

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

8. TE Drew Sample

Syndication: The Enquirer
Syndication: The Enquirer

7. QB Jake Browning (ERFA)

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

6. TE Tanner Hudson

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Syndication: Florida Times-Union

5. CB Chidobe Awuzie

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

4. WR Tyler Boyd

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

3. OT Jonah Williams

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. DL DJ Reader

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

1. WR Tee Higgins

(Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images)

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire