Unsurprisingly, reports are surfacing that the Cincinnati Bengals are asking for too much in return on the trade market.
For almost any franchise across the league, a situation like the one the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in would be a clear indicator that it’s time to trade away disgruntled and aging veterans. For Duke Tobin and co. however, no such assessment appears to have been made.
In a report put out by CBS Sport’s Jonathan Jones, it was revealed by an NFC executive that Cincinnati’s asking prices are “unreasonable”. This development should come as no surprise, especially after the team exhibited an unwillingness to make deals last season when they clearly should have.
The trade candidates are obvious. Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Shawn Williams, John Ross, the list goes on and on. Even offers for A.J. Green should be listened to despite a solid showing a week ago.
The Bengals simply cannot remain inactive on the trade market
Sitting at 1-4-1, firmly in the last place of the AFC North, Cincinnati clearly needs to start thinking about the future rather than the 2020 campaign. While it stings losing talent, their value on the trade market is more valuable to the organization than their capabilities in a lost season.
The coaching staff has opted to limit Atkins and Dunlap, their second and fourth highest-paid players, to minimal roles. Paying guys $10M+ to play less than 50% of defensive snaps just doesn’t make sense.
The defensive line duo specifically will continue to command a large percentage of the salary cap in the coming years. For a Bengals squad that desperately needs to invest in the offensive line via free agency next offseason, that money cannot continue to be earmarked for players contributing in a backup capacity.
Simply stating that the asking price for a given player wasn’t met isn’t an acceptable excuse for remaining inactive. There are contenders out there willing to give up a reasonable amount of draft capital in return for some of Cincinnati’s veterans.
The Bengals clear cap space to sign the guys they need to build around Joe Burrow and get extra opportunities in the draft to add talent to the roster. That’s more valuable than winning an extra game or two this season.
For Bengals’ fans, the hope should be that the front office is playing hardball with their asking prices right now, attempting to drive up the return they get on the players they should trade away. But those familiar with how trades are handled by the organization know all too well that the signs are pointing to another inactive deadline.