Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding the season, Cincinnati Bengals’ fans can take solace in the fact that the team has had a breakthrough offseason so far.
The current situation across the globe is making for trying times, whilst the world is producing many personal struggles for many, one can learn that sports are not as trivial as they are perceived. For so many of us, it is the lighthouse that guides us through the sea of the working week. An early start on Monday morning is far less difficult after a Bengals win than a loss. The breakout free agency period has provided a beacon of hope, despite the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season.
Whilst the preseason will almost definitely be unique this year, the latest offseason in the Queen City has the potential to be one that shapes the next decade in a groundbreaking manner.
Free agency brought many acquisitions that very much broke the national cheap narrative that has been arguably warranted at times. Former Texans Defensive Tackle D.J. Reader’s 4-year $53 million contract brought a blue-chip player who seems like a dream fit alongside the ever-reliable Geno Atkins and is a true 3-4 nose tackle if that is the route that the Bengals wish to take schematically.
The Reader deal, in addition to $42 million allocated to ex-Vikings corner Trae Waynes evidence a real breakthrough in free agency spending. Mackensie Alexander and Vonn Bell have been acquired on high-value deals and together with Waynes, will create a new look secondary after the departures of Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard. Despite this spending spree, Cincinnati remains over $17 million under the cap, with this number only set to increase after the departure of Andy Dalton, which despite what has been publicized, looks imminently inevitable.
The last statement may be derived from hopefulness, in addition to the wish that the Bengals remain at no 1 and take LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow (I have already purchased a Joe Burrow T-shirt, I pray this was not a jinx). Burrow produced arguably the greatest season for a quarterback in college football history last year and, however irrelevant it may seem, is wonderfully charismatic.
Burrow would bring a true sense of hope and provide Zac Taylor with a real shot to prove what he did not last year. With a true superstar re-signed to the franchise tag in A.J. Green, a healthy former first-round pick left tackle in Jonah Williams, Taylor would have other new weapons to add to his arsenal in addition to Burrow.
With free agency providing a truly hopeful glimpse into the Bengals’ future, one can only hope that Cincinnati does not get in its own way at the top of the draft. One thing is for sure, Bengals fans await September filled with excitement and anticipation.