Buy and Sell: How the Bengals should handle the trade deadline
The Cincinnati Bengals have never been active during the trade deadline, but something in the air makes this year feel a little different.
In 2019, the Cincinnati Bengals had all the reason in the world to make moves at the trade deadline. At 0-8, the club had assets to trade to truly start the rebuild. But they stuck to their guns, keeping veteran players at an expensive cost.
That hesitancy to trade led to the franchise tagging of A.J. Green, the eventual benching of a healthy John Ross, and the current unrest of Carlos Dunlap. Could this be the year that they sell off veteran assets? Or maybe will they use draft capital to acquire talent to surround Joe Burrow?
The market for Bengals players
If the Bengals are going to make trades, most everyone should be made available. Starting with Mr. Employee 96, Carlos Dunlap.
The public troublemaker has done everything he can to force his way out of Cincinnati. Unfortunately for the Bengals, those antics have sent Dunlap’s trade value down the tank. Unless they can create a “bidding war” of sorts from teams desperate for an edge rusher.
Seattle is looking to make a Super Bowl run but struggles to get pressure on the quarterback. The Vikings traded away Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens, leaving a gap on the line. Not to mention Carlos had some of his best years under Mike Zimmer. The Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, and San Francisco 49ers could all use a veteran presence on the line during their playoff push. Dunlap could only realistically fetch a sixth or seventh-round pick following his dramatics.
John Ross has the pedigree of a former first-round pick but none of the stats to back it up. Speed is a need throughout the league and if he’s not being used in Cincy, they need to move on. The Packers, Saints, Eagles, and the Bears could all be in the market for a speedy receiver. The Bengals would be lucky to get a conditional sixth or seventh from Ross, but they should at least try.
A.J. Green and Geno Atkins are probably not going to leave Cincinnati through a trade, but one last piece may if the price is right.
William Jackson III is in a contract year and has shown flashes of stardom. Unfortunately, he apparently would be open to a change of scenery and could leave the Bengals in free agency. If there’s any sort of indication that he is going to leave, Cincinnati needs to pounce. WJ3 may score the Bengals a second-round pick, or a third at a minimum. This is one situation the Bengals need to monitor closely.
Could the Bengals be buyers at the deadline?
The Bengals made a preseason trade for Christian Covington, who has played valuable snaps in stripes. Unfortunately, there’s still a gaping need on the defensive line, especially after the departure of Carlos Dunlap.
Quinnen Williams, the former third overall pick of the Jets, is reportedly available for even a second-rounder. Can you imagine a future of D.J. Reader and Quinnen Williams terrorizing interior lineman for years to come?
What about on the offensive line? The Bengals reportedly brought in Quinton Spain for a workout, but that is not enough. Cincinnati will be without Bobby Hart indefinitely according to Zac Taylor. And they still have a need at right guard as well, even with the addition of Spain. Could they send Dunlap or Ross and a draft pick for a guard? Could the Patriots be interested in trading Joe Thuney for Ross and a third?
Putting it all together
If the Cincinnati Bengals are going to show Joe Burrow and future free agents that they are in it to win it, then they need to make the proper moves. Trading away or cutting Carlos Dunlap is the absolute first move. From there, Mike Brown and company have a lot of decisions to make to show their players and the fans that they are committed to winning Super Bowls.