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5 best NFL free agent linebackers available heading into Week 4

The Bengals are waiting to get Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and Preston Brown back from injury, but in the meantime they are hurting at linebacker. Even when the pair returns, the team could use more talent and speed at the position. At this point in the year, the linebackers who are available in free agency are older than is ideal, less experienced than is would be preferred, or come with some other baggage.

The Bengals worked out at least nine players last week, but none of the reported workouts were with linebackers.

With that in mind, here are five linebackers the Bengals should consider picking up before heading into Atlanta for a Week 4 matchup withe the Falcons.

NaVorro Bowman

Bowman was a hot name as a trade candidate a year ago, and yet he is still available. Bowman is a talented eight-year pro and four-time All-Pro. In 2017 Bowman had 80 tackles in 15 games for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. He has the ability, the big question is his desire to play.

Lawrence Timmons

From Karlos Dansby to Kevin Minter, the Bengals love aging veterans on the defensive side of the ball. Timmons was a long-time Steeler who went to the Pro Bowl in 2014. The 32-year-old started 14 games for Dolphins in 2017 and recorded 84 tackles. Seeing Timmons in stripes may be hard to stomach for some but James Harrison won over Bengals fans for a year, and Timmons could do the same. Plus, the Bengals face his former teams in coming weeks.

Shea McClellin

McClellin is currently semi-retired. Having been diagnosed with a concussion five times in his football career, McClellin is not seeking further employment as a player but has not ruled out a return. The former Chicago Bears first round pick says that he is in great shape and is currently coaching high school ball in Idaho. McClellin started for the Bears for three seasons and played a key role in the New England Patriots’ 2016 Super Bowl run.

Tegray Scales

Scales is a Cincinnati native who was picked up by the Rams as a undrafted free agent in 2018, but was cut at the end of training camp. The Indiana linebacker was a bit of a sleeper early in the draft party, but became a favorite of many draft analysts throughout the process. Scales had 324 career tackles for the Hoosiers including 125 in his junior season in 2016. Scales is one of those players who always seems to be around the ball and could be a big pick up for the Bengals.

Quin Blanding

At 6’2” and 215 pounds, Blanding is a big safety who spent a lot of his time at Virginia rolled down into the box. Blanding was picked up after the 2018 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins who cut him at the end of camp. Blanding was incredibly productive in college recording 492 tackles in four years. He is an excellent run defender, and good against the pass in underneath zones. His issue is playing deep field zones. Moving him to linebacker would solve that problem.


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