As the Bengals collected the signatures of defensive tackle Tank Johnson and wide receiver Antonio Bryant, the next step looks to be a slow one.
The priority now looks to be right guard Bobbie Williams, but his agent said Thursday that contrary to a report last week he's not close to a deal with the Bengals. The Bengals would also like to get deals with safety Roy Williams and kicker Shayne Graham, but it has been a slow go.
"There's always an open line of communication but we aren't in the same realm," said Tony Agnone, the agent who has done two deals with the club for Williams. "Bobbie wants to come back. He's invested there. He lives in the community full time. He's a captain. He's hoping something can get done."
The Bengals rotated at left guard last year with Evan Mathis and Nate Livings and they are expected to draft a guard at some point. With Williams turning 34 in September, the Bengals may be fearful of giving him a multi-year contact in the wake of the injuries suffered by tackles Willie Anderson and Levi Jones following their new deals.
But Agnone points out that Williams has missed just three games since he joined the Bengals in 2004 free agency and that because of a 2006 appendectomy.
"He's solid and reliable. Look at the track record," said Agnone, pointing out that Williams played in just one game during his first two seasons in Philadelphia and didn't start playing regularly until his fourth season. "He doesn't have the wear and tear. He's got three years left and he'd like to play them in Cincinnati."
Williams said earlier this week that he has been talking to head coach Marvin Lewis and was hopeful that he could get a deal by the time offseason workouts start March 29.
"We're going to keep talking," Agnone said.