Rebuilding the Bengals: Edge Rusher
The Carlos Dunlap saga finally came to an end with his trade to the Seattle Seahawks. The front office would have hoped that the transition of Dunlap from key starter to situational pass rusher had been smoother, but it wasn’t to be.
Carl Lawson did enough at the start of the season to accelerate Dunlap’s descent to a lower snap count. Lawson has remained healthy this year and has shown himself to be solid enough in the run game. That development means the Bengals have their two starters for the future, Lawson and currently injured, Sam Hubbard.
There will be major question marks if the Bengals don’t come to an agreement with Lawson long-term. Even then, his injury history will have the front office concerned enough to invest again in the position. Khalid Kareem will have a shot to replace Dunlap while Amani Bledsoe is a depth piece, who has been solid if unspectacular.
What the Bengals really need is a veteran that can help the group develop without expecting a starting role. A third-down specialist who can rotate in, with Hubbard switching to the interior on rushing downs.
The Bengals missed out on Shaq Barrett in free agency last year but a similar player looking to prove himself on a one-year deal could be the ideal replacement for the departed Dunlap.