Is Jamel Dean a fit for Bengals in free agency?

The Cincinnati Bengals will be in the mix for cornerbacks this offseason, potentially in the draft and free agency.

Depth was an issue last year and right now, Chidobe Awuzie continues to rehab a season-ending injury and Eli Apple is a free agent.

While the Bengals could take a cornerback as high as the first round — hence the team meeting with Kelee Ringo — the team could easily attack the need in free agency.

Ian Valentino from Pro Football Network, for example, lists the Bengals as a top destination for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean:

“The difference between Dean and Apple is significant. Dean ranked fifth in target separation, 24th in yards allowed, 10th in yards per reception allowed, and 16th in passer rating allowed. The most notable difference is Apple ranked 70 spots lower in yards per reception and allowed 184 yards more on only two more receptions.”

Per PFF’s numbers, Dean only allowed 34 catches on 68 targets, picking off two passes for a 77.9 grade.

The problem with projecting a No. 1 or 2 boundary corner to the Bengals is that the team is already set there. Awuzie tops the depth chart and second-rounder Cam Taylor-Britt is the starter opposite.

That’s why an Apple-like signing, or even bringing Apple back, is more likely. Dean is going to cost far too much compared to what the team is looking for right now. A combination of an Apple-like veteran and drafting a developmental boundary corner would provide immediate insurance if Awuzie isn’t 100 percent and also let the team develop his potential future replacement.

Dean would be a good signing, of course. But it would be a little out of character and not make the most sense, barring an unexpectedly suppressed market for the veteran.

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Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire