How fast can the Cincinnati Bengals open their championship window?

Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Burrow (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

When can Zac Taylor and the Cincinnati Bengals balance a veteran presence with a youthful core to open their Super Bowl window?

The Cincinnati Bengals have made several moves this offseason to set the franchise up to compete now and in the future. With the addition of Joe Burrow as a potential franchise quarterback, the emergence of Tyler Boyd, the drafting of Tee Higgins, and the extension of Joe Mixon, the club has a strong, young core on offense.

The defensive side of the ball has some key pieces too, including Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson to create a pass rush, along with William Jackson III and Jessie Bates in the secondary.

The biggest question of long term success comes down to how long veteran stars like A.J. Green, Carlos Dunlap, and Geno Atkins can continue producing at such a high level. For any team, finding the balance between young guys and veteran leaders is the difference between flopping in the playoffs and establishing a consistently competitive team.

How fast can the Bengals open their championship window?

The Bengals still have some holes on both sides of the ball, which makes a serious run towards the Super Bowl unlikely this year. However, with a talented quarterback, the window for competing in the AFC North is thrown open as soon as next year.

Cincinnati will enter the next offseason with a much better idea of where the holes on the team are and will be able to draft accordingly. Having filled several holes this past offseason through the draft and free agency, there should be less glaring needs.

With Joe Mixon’s recent declaration that he wants to play his entire career in Cincinnati with Joe Burrow at quarterback, the feasible window for Cincinnati to win starts in 2021 and could go for as long as the next 5-7 years, depending on how management performs. Finding replacements for their veterans will be the biggest key to finding success, alongside Burrow developing into the type of quarterback the front office thinks he can become.

The Bengals will need to increase their success rate in the draft to be able to continuously bring in young talent on cheaper rookie deals. The best chance Cincinnati will have is while Burrow is still on his first contract. Owing so little to the quarterback position should push the Bengals to be aggressive in free agency and accelerate the window for winning a championship.

If the Bengals can have one more productive offseason next year, 2021 should be the year analysts are talking about the Bengals competing for a Super Bowl.

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