What would it take for the Cincinnati Bengals to give up the first overall pick?

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals have secured the rights to the number one overall pick in the 2020 draft. With that, it’s worth exploring the value of the selection. 

While the Cincinnati Bengals fell short in defeating the Miami Dolphins, they succeeded in locking down the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Taking LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is starting to seem like a foregone conclusion. Selecting him is by far the most likely scenario, but the Bengals will undoubtedly field calls from other teams inquiring about the pick. What would it take for the front office to give up the rights to a potential star franchise quarterback?

From a purely statistical standpoint, the infamous trade chart used by general managers around the league values the first overall pick to be worth 3000 “points”. The second overall pick drops in value substantially to 2,600 points, which is why acquiring the first pick is such a big deal. It offers the Bengals a significant trade chip if they want it.

More often than not, teams trade up to the first pick in order to secure a quarterback. As things stand right now in the draft order, no team picking after the Bengals is likely to take a signal-caller until the Miami Dolphins.

Miami, who holds the 5th overall pick, has been rumored to be the most likely trade partners due to their pre-season interest in the quarterback class. The value of their selection comes in at 1,700 points.

Thankfully, the Dolphins also wield two other first-round picks this year, which are currently slated to be the 19th and 25th picks. Those picks carry significantly less value at 875 and 720 points, respectively. In addition to that, their second-round pick would weigh in at 530 points. So, going solely off the trade chart, it would take the Dolphins 5th pick, 25th pick, and their second-round selection (2,950 points) in order to acquire the 1st overall selection (3,000 points).

However, the Bengals shouldn’t want a “fair” trade to give up such a high-caliber player. They’re in the driver’s seat and that means any discussion of a trade should begin with all three of Miami’s first-rounders and go much further beyond that.

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There is also the chance that a team further back in the draft order (Carolina Panthers) would want to make a bigger leap to secure the Bengals pick, which would only cost more draft capital. However, there is a bigger sense of risk in those cases because the Bengals would be acquiring future first-round picks that could fall anywhere 1-32.

The most recent trade of the first overall pick occurred in 2016 between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tennessee Titans. The Rams moved all the way up from the 15th pick to secure the rights to draft Jared Goff. The overall trade netted the Titans two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and two third-round picks while they only shipped out the first pick, a fourth-round pick, and a sixth-round pick.

The Titans “won” the trade, receiving draft capital worth 3,980 points compared to the 3,089 points they sent back to the Rams. It should be noted, however, the Rams went on to have more immediate success (including a Super Bowl appearance) when compared to the Titans, despite being -891 points on the trade chart. However, the Titans seem to be in a better position at this point after making a surprise run to the AFC Championship.

Despite these black and white numerical values, there is a high chance the Bengals value the pick much more than the 3,000 points systematically assigned to it. It all depends on how favorably they view Burrow in comparison to the rest of the class. If they are overwhelmed with an offer and still feel like they can pick up a franchise quarterback, such as Tua Tagovailoa, perhaps they pull the trigger. Still, the Bengals front office seems well aware that Burrow is a cut above the rest.

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Regardless of what the team decides, they hold the keys to one of the most valuable assets in the entire NFL. What they do with it will heavily impact the future of the franchise. With that, every option deserves to be discussed. If you were making the decisions in Cincinnati, what would you want in return for the first overall pick?