Bleacher Report’s trade suggestion for the Cincinnati Bengals has them landing extra protection for Joe Burrow.
The Cincinnati Bengals’ front office has done an admirable job of filling holes on a roster that went just 2-14 last season. Nearly every position, especially linebacker, looks to have more talent heading into 2020.
However, the offensive line remains an unknown as the team plans to rely on a number of young and unproven players. Bleacher Report writer Brent Sobleski has suggested a trade for Rams offensive tackle Rob Havenstein to give Joe Burrow and company more of a sure thing in terms of protection.
Havenstein will be entering his 6th year in the NFL next season and he brings a resume to the table that includes 68 games of experience.
The mammoth right tackle (6’8, 330 lbs.) is coming off a campaign that saw injury and a downtick in play. Prior to last season though, the former Wisconsin Badger has had a very good professional career. In 2018, he earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 86.4, a performance the Bengals haven’t seen from an offensive lineman in quite some time.
So why would Sean McVay be willing to give up such a talented tackle? Well, once Havenstein went down to injury, rookie Bobby Evans filled in admirably. For a Rams team that is in a bad place with the salary cap, getting Havenstein’s $6.2M cap hit off the books would be a smart move, especially if they’re confident Evans can continue his level of play.
For the Bengals, it’s clear that they’re content with their current offensive line configuration and that’s a sentiment that will continue to be repeated. However, the opportunity to give Burrow a solid right tackle in his rookie season is too tantalizing not to consider.
Havenstein would immediately become the Bengals’ best offensive lineman and offer a veteran presence to help the young guys along the trenches to develop.
He’s 28-years-old and entering the prime of his career. His contract would put him under team control through 2022, with his cap hit maxing out at $8.8M, a number that isn’t too drastic in an offensive line starved league.
The only problem is, the Bengals appear to be done taking on any more money from outside sources. Their roughly $24M in cap space is likely being reserved to sign their draft class and extend players like A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.
Still, the team could make moves to clear the required cap space to bring Havenstein on if they really wanted to. Cutting a player like Bobby Hart would net the team $3.85M alone.
The last thing such a trade would come down to is how much the Rams would want in return for their steady offensive tackle. On the surface, it seems like he could be had for a reasonable price because Los Angeles would be getting salary cap relief in return and they already have his replacement in place.
Perhaps Zac Taylor’s old ties would be enough to bring this kind of trade to completion. Whatever happens, it’s undeniable that the Bengals still have avenues to upgrade their offensive line available to them. With realistic trade options like this one, along with a player like Larry Warford on the open market, there’s no excuse if the team struggles in the trenches once again next season.