Players in contract years get sick of losing
Despite a poor record in 2019, the Bengals have a good amount of talented players on the roster. With a potent passing attack, stellar running back, and a defensive line that is capable of applying frequent pressure on quarterbacks, there are some things moving in the right direction.
The problem is that some of the most talented players are hitting a contract year, and nobody wants to play their whole career for a losing team. A.J. Green, Joe Mixon, and William Jackson are all incredibly talented players who will be expecting big paydays from the front office. If the Bengals keep losing, however, it could drive some of the guys to look elsewhere for their next starting role.
It would be a huge blow to morale to see any of these guys decide that they want to play for a team that is consistently competing for a championship. One thing is for certain, there would be no shortage of suitors if any of these players hit the open market.
The worst-case scenario is that the Bengals do not do enough to impress their talented players to stick around. This could make it even more difficult to bring in top free agents and re-sign the best home-grown players.
During a time when the window to compete is just starting to open, making at least a competitive effort is important.