Are the Bengals as bad as things would seem to be? If the organization gets serious in free agency and the NFL Draft, a turn around could be quick.
The Bengals are 1-11 but I don’t believe things are as bad as they could be. Cincinnati has a young core of players, and free agency and the draft this offseason can be a massive key to turning this franchise around.
Starting with what appears to be the biggest liability on this Bengals team, the offensive line. I think a big thing Cincinnati fans are forgetting when it comes to the line, is that last year’s first-round pick Jonah Williams will be back next season after missing the whole 2019 season due to injury. If Williams is as good as I believe he is, he will be a huge addition to the line next year. If Cordy Glenn decides to play next season, both tackle positions will be filled for the Bengals next year. Aside from offensive tackles, center Trey Hopkins has been having a good season thus far, and if he continues this level of play, that only leaves two offensive line positions left to fill.
I know a lot of “if’s” go into that scenario, but if the Bengals play this offseason right by picking up a lineman in free agency as well as drafting one with their second-round pick, Cincinnati could have a solid line going into next season.
Aside from the offensive line, the defense could use some additions. The defense hasn’t been absolutely terrible this season, but some upgrades can go along way. With the Bengals money situation, they can absolutely afford to sign a big-time player to their defense. Linebacker and secondary are going to be the positions that need upgrades this offseason. I think signing and drafting some more linebackers as well as adding depth to the cornerback position as well as safety are going to make the defense more competitive.
Cincinnati chose not to trade guys like Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and A.J. Green which tells me they think they can win soon. With the star veterans and the Bengals young core, adding impactful players this offseason can help turn things around quickly. No other team picking in the top five has as many offensive weapons as the Bengals. Yes, the Bengals are having a terrible 2019 season, but not all is lost. Having the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft along with a lot of money to spend in free agency, the Bengals can bring in help to the good young players already on the roster.
I think one offseason can turn things around, not back to being a contender, but to being in the hunt for the playoffs. The biggest question is going to be of the front office can handle the current situation and make the right decisions to make the Bengals a competitive football team again.