Joe Mixon to Sammy Watkins: 'Squad up' with Bengals

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With next week's free-agency onslaught just around the bend, teams are gearing up to recruit the biggest names on the open market.

In Cincinnati, Joe Mixon is ahead of the pack.

The Bengals running back made an open pitch to Sammy Watkins, asking the free-agent wideout to join him in Cincy after the Rams chose not to franchise tag the veteran pass-catcher:

Watkins didn't shoot down the idea, tweeting back at Mixon: "You never know brother this business is crazy."

The Rams on Tuesday opted to apply the non-exclusive franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner. The move left Watkins free to roam, but NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the team will be aggressive in trying to keep Watkins in Los Angeles.

Money is the core engine in most of these free-agent chase-downs, but Watkins fit in well with the Rams down the stretch. There's something to be said for growing inside coach Sean McVay's marvelous offense versus bouncing to a third team in 12 months.

Besides, the Rams under general manager Les Snead have operated as a wheeling-and-dealing juggernaut in the days leading up to free agency. If Watkins remains in their sights -- and, by all indications, he does -- interested suitors better find a way to outfox one of the more forward-thinking front offices league-wide.

We'll find out soon enough where Watkins will land.

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