Here's how I see the roster of guys who saw significant action this year:
Joe Burrow - firmly entrenched as a top-five QB and probably #2. Will get paid this offseason but shouldn't have huge cap numbers for another couple years.
Joe Mixon - averaged 3.9 YPC in a year the league averaged 4.5. Turns 27 in July with almost 1500 career carries. I'd like for them to move on and find a solution in the draft.
Samaje Perine - upper-echelon backup headed to free agency. I'd like to bring him back, especially if they move on from Mixon.
Trayveon Williams - feels like he's been cut a million times over his rookie deal but became the kick returner down the stretch and did a decent job. Could probably upgrade though as he heads to free agency.
Ja'Marr Chase - elite WR1 who missed a month but showed no ill effects once he came back. Eligible for extension after next year.
Tee Higgins - borderline WR1 with occasional drop issues but can make high-point catches like few others as we saw last night. Eligible for extension - there'll be a lot of chatter about a trade, but the Bengals will need to be bowled over. I would bet on him being back.
Tyler Boyd - reliable slot receiver slowed down a little bit at age 28. Heading into the final year of his extension and could be his last in stripes given how much money they'll devote there.
Trenton Irwin - had been riding the practice squad shuttle for years and developed into a quality WR4 option. That's probably all he is, but a solid depth piece.
Trent Taylor - good punt returner who could face some competition, but I wouldn't mind having him back.
Hayden Hurst - pretty much what was expected. Wouldn't mind having him back for a year again, but also an area they need to look in the draft.
LT Jonah Williams - average starter who will play next year on fifth-year option and may have to fight for his job in camp. Tough to see an extension given the ones looming.
LG Cordell Volson - did about as well as expected for a rookie moving from FCS tackle to NFL guard. Don't see a ton of ceiling but should be a solid starter for a few years.
C Ted Karras - FA signee who acclimated himself seamlessly - voted a captain and was the best quote on the team. Quality starter under contract for two more years.
RG Alex Cappa - their marquee FA signing who delivered as advertised. Freak injury cost him the postseason and is probably the reason I'm writing this now.
RT La'el Collins - aggravated back injury before camp and was never able to fully get on track before tearing ACL in December. Still a powerful run blocker and can hold up against bigger DEs but really struggled with speed. Not sure if he can be cut while injured but would like to see them find an upgrade.
Hakeem Adeniji - stepped in at RT when Collins went down and was his most natural position after struggling at LT and RG his first two years. Solid depth piece but shouldn't be a starter.
Max Scharping - waiver claim at cutdown with a bunch of starting experience. Headed to FA and can probably be a low-end starter for someone.
Jackson Carman - 2021 second-rounder was a disaster at RG last year, lost the LG job in camp and appeared to be headed firmly to the bust pile as he was a healthy scratch all year. Stepped in at LT when Williams got hurt and looked much more natural in his college position. I'd expect them to compete in camp for that job.
Trey Hendrickson - sack numbers were down this year but still a pressure machine. Just turned 28 and should still be very productive for remaining two years of deal.
Sam Hubbard - very good all-around DE had his best pass rushing year. Would like to see him more inside in passing situations as he doesn't have the traits of upper-echelon pass rushers.
Joseph Ossai - missed all his rookie year with concerns it would be a longer-term injury than that but provided some good pass rush. Likely just a nickel rusher but hopefully can be a very productive one a year further removed from the injury.
Cam Sample - kind of a poor man's Hubbard. Nothing flashy, but developed into a nice rotational piece in second year.
DJ Reader - elite NT who's the linchpin of the defense. Had some tough injuries in three years here but his impact is undeniable. Headed into the last year of his deal at age 29 and would like to extend him given how important he is, and I think his game will age well.
BJ Hill - 2021 cutdown trade acquisition steal was exactly as advertised in first year of three-year deal. Really good 3T who can rush the passer and play the run.
Zach Carter - third-rounder had a quiet start to the year but started to make plays down the stretch. Excited to see what's in store in year two.
Jay Tufele - cutdown waiver claim from Jacksonville became a decent rotational piece. Solid, cheap depth.
Josh Tupou - actually the longest tenured Bengal on defense and has been a good run stuffer for years, but they may move on with emergence of Carter and Tufele.
Logan Wilson - quality starter who can run sideline to sideline but gets washed away sometimes in the run game. Headed to final year of rookie deal but will already be 27 in camp. I think he'll be extended.
Germaine Pratt - took a huge step in contract year to become an upper-echelon player. I think he priced himself out of their range, especially given a possible Wilson extension.
Markus Bailey - ST stalwart who could fill Pratt's role next year in last year of rookie deal. Highly productive player in college before injury caused him to slip.
Akeem Davis-Gaither - another 2020 LB who's a bit undersized but has a role against speed. Will also be in the mix for Pratt's snaps, plus I could see them draft one.
Chidobe Awuzie - 2021 FA played at elite level for a year and a half before tearing ACL Week 8. Hopefully will be ready for camp but need to stock up there given that and he's headed into the last year of his deal.
Eli Apple - volatile lightning rod but generally solid in coverage despite what people may want to think. Got him back fairly cheaply for a year last year and would be interested in something similar.
Cam Taylor-Britt - rookie second-rounder missed a bunch of time in camp/early season and was thrust into action after Awuzie went down. Worked through some coverage inconsistencies but a really good tackler who should be a quality starter.
Mike Hilton - I was ready to call him the best nickel in the league before yesterday, but he had an awful game - still a really good player who's an excellent blitzer and tackler despite only being 5'9/185. Under contract at a bargain rate for two more years.
Tre Flowers - 2021 midseason waiver acquisition listed at CB but plays more like a safety as he's used to cover TEs with his 6'3 frame. Brought him back on a cheap one-year deal last year and would be interested in it again.
Jessie Bates - franchised this year but the writing has been on the wall for a year and a half once they couldn't extend him before 2021. Will be paid handsomely by someone else.
Vonn Bell - also headed to FA. Solid box safety who had his best year in coverage and a leader on defense. Just turned 28 - I'd like to see if they can get him back for two years.
Dax Hill - first-rounder had a rough rookie year between shuffling around on defense and some dumb special teams penalties. He was Bates' replacement from the moment he was drafted and I'm excited to see him step into that role - he was an excellent prospect and my hopes are still high.
Michael Thomas - ST captain who turns 33 in March but would like to have him back in that role if he wants to keep playing.
K Evan McPherson - rookie revelation had a rough sophomore year. Huge leg but very inconsistent on shorter kicks. Still trust him in a big spot but needs to be more consistent.
P Drue Chrisman - took over midseason after team finally moved on from Kevin Huber. Probably an average punter who had a rough game yesterday and should face competition.
This is largely going to be the same team next year. OL and CB are the two biggest needs and they can definitely upgrade at RB and TE along with more speed at WR. Burrow will be extended for sure but it's a little murky after that. I think Reader is still priority #2, but Wilson and Higgins are also up there and they can't extend everyone. Thankfully, they've also become a much better organization around the edges which will still allow them to compete once guys start getting paid.