The Cincinnati Bengals should follow the Minnesota Vikings’ course of action and begin trading players they don’t plan on using.
The Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in a similar position this year. Both have a single win, both find themselves in the last place of their respective divisions, and both have rosters containing aging veterans that likely won’t be able to contribute by the time the front office builds a contender.
For the Vikings, the decision was made to punt on the season, and dealing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in exchange for some valuable draft capital was the best route to go. All signs indicate the standout pass rusher will be the first of many players on their way out the door in Minnesota.
Of course, the first priority for any franchise is to win games but general managers also have to be realistic. Ngakoue certainly helps the Vikings in the present but how many victories does he secure this season compared to the young players they can draft with the selections they got in return?
Rick Spielman, Minnesota’s general manager, came to the correct conclusion that Ngakoue’s value on the trade market is more beneficial to the franchise overall than his pass-rush capabilities in a lost season. The Bengals’ front office needs to draw similar conclusions with some of their own guys.
Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap deserve bigger roles, even if it’s not with the Bengals
Certain players within the Bengals’ locker room haven’t been shy about discussing their discontent with their roles this season, namely Carlos Dunlap. Now, reports are surfacing that Geno Atkins is unhappy with his snap count as well.
The pair of defensive cornerstones, along with a few other players, have every right to be unhappy with their situations. It’s a shame to see long-time fan favorites lose their starting spots, especially when they still have more to contribute.
Clearly, Atkins and Dunlap’s relationship with the franchise is beginning to strain. Before the bridge is completely burnt, it would be wise to pick up the phone and give the pair of star defensive lineman an opportunity to contribute for a franchise that envisions a larger role for them.
It just makes sense for both parties. Atkins and Dunlap, along with other potential names, get an opportunity to contend and see the field more often.
For the Bengals, they’re no longer paying guys north of $10M to play less than 50% of the defensive snaps. It will clear their salary cap situation to allow them to go out and get the pieces they need to build around Joe Burrow too. A free-agent offensive lineman this offseason is infinitely more valuable than a defensive lineman being used as a backup.
Not to mention, they’ll get picks to help build the foundation for the next era of Cincinnati football. A fourth-round pick here, and a sixth-round pick there may not seem like much, but remember, Atkins himself was a fourth-rounder himself once upon a time. Plus, those selections could potentially be packaged to move up in the earlier rounds.
Duke Tobin is notorious for his distaste of trading veterans in return for draft capital. However, in this case, it’s just what’s best for the team in the long run. The Bengals need to follow the Vikings’ lead and explore acting as sellers on the trade market.