Zac Taylor and the rest of the Bengals new coaching staff find themselves in a unique spot. Their best shot at success may be their first year on the job.
To a certain extent, every NFL team is in “win now” mode. However, some teams are more ready to contend each year than others.
With many aspects of the Bengals organization starting anew for the upcoming season, not many people expect Cincinnati to contend this year. However, there is a path to contention this year. Moreover, this year may end up being Cincinnati’s best shot at contending for the next few years.
The Bengals have a ton of talent set to hit free agency after the upcoming season. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Clint Boling, and several other role players are entering the final year of their deals.
Cincinnati is used to life without Tyler Eifert and well prepared for Giovani Bernard to leave after drafting two running backs this year. It is the three players above that headline Cincinnati’s list of 16 2020 free agents. Losing them would be tough for any team to overcome.
Green is a seven time Pro Bowler, Boyd posted 76 catches last year, and Boling has started 106 straight games along the offensive line. This trio is going to get big money, weather it is in Cincinnati or elsewhere.
Of course, the Bengals have plenty of time to explore extensions with all three guys. Keeping all of them would be extremely difficult. Keeping one or two shouldn’t be. Owner Mike Brown has publicly expressed interest in extending Green, Still, Brown and spending big money have never gone together.
Cincinnati’s front office has always done a good job of hanging on to their own guys. Even so, Green, Boling and Boyd could all be out of Brown’s price range. Losing the entire trio is a bit of a doom and gloom scenario, but a real possibility.
With that looming, this year may be Taylor’s best shot at success in Cincinnati, at least for a few years. While Brown and the rest of ownership may make Taylor’s life more difficult, his saving grace may be that Cincinnati is the only place left in the NFL where coaches are given adequate time to develop themselves and their players.