Free agency set to start Tuesday as Bengals host visits

As expected Monday, the Bengals announced a two-year deal for kicker Mike Nugent and when free agency officially opens Tuesday they're expected to announce they've tendered a second-rounder offer to SAM linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.

The Bengals on Monday also visited with a pair of nine-year NFL veterans, former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk

and former Chiefs tight end Anthony Fasano, two positions they appear to be trying to shore up before the April 30-May 2 draft.

Hawk, a local product via Centerville, Ohio and Ohio State, could push Lamur for a starting spot and be an insurance policy for Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict as he rehabs from microfracture knee surgery.  The Bengals had their eye on Fasano in the 2006 draft, but he went a couple of slots before they picked in the second round. He would be a solid blocker to team with pass catching tight end Tyler Eifert and H-Back Ryan Hewitt.

With no deals done by Monday evening, the Bengals may be pausing to see how their negotiations end with starting left guard Clint Boling. Boling has also been reportedly pursued by the Vikings, Jets, and Raiders, but a resolution may be pushed along by ESPN's report that 49ers guard Mike Iupati is telling people he's signing with Arizona.

ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that the Bengals would be interested in re-signing right end Michael Johnson if the Buccaneers cut him, echoing other reports that have been rattling around since late in the season.

What we know for sure is Johnson has high regard for his ex-teammates in Cincinnati and the feeling is mutual after five distinguished seasons on and off the field. That much was said the week before the Bengals beat the Bucs in Tampa this past November, the first time they met since the Bucs won a close call over the Bengals in free agency.

What we don't know is if the Bucs are going to cut Johnson by Friday. If they don't, they owe him $7 million after they guaranteed him $9 million last year in a season he had four sacks.

Nugent, 33, reportedly signed a two-year, $3.75 million deal that can go to $4 million with incentives as he eyes his sixth season in Cincinnati, where he is fifth on the all-time scoring list and second in all-time field-goal accuracy.

During a tough year in which his father died suddenly, Nugent persevered through an early-season slump and his franchise-best 57-yard field goal in the Wild Card loss in Indianapolis punctuated his 16-for-17 finish.

"I'm excited to have Mike back with us," said special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons in the news release announcing Nugent's signing. "Mike dealt with some tough issues last season, but he finished the year strong, and we're looking for him to pick up where he left off. Also this means we'll have our specialist trio back, with (snapper) Clark Harris and (holder) Kevin Huber, and keeping the continuity with those guys working as a unit is a big asset for us."

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