Top five Bengals other than Joe Burrow to build around
Bengals to build around: Carl Lawson
The first player on this list is one with an uncertain future in Cincinnati: Carl Lawson.
After four years with the Bengals, Lawson’s rookie contract expires after this season and he will hit free agency for the first time. Along with cornerback William Jackson III, the Bengals should make a priority of re-signing two of their top defenders this offseason. However, if the Bengals had to choose just one to re-sign, they should go with Lawson.
With 4.5 sacks in 2020, Lawson is the only player on the Bengals’ roster with more than one total sack. That is a really bad sign for a defensive line that was touted as the team’s biggest strength coming into the season. Lawson’s teammates have combined for 8.5 sacks this season, meaning that he makes up for more than a third of the team’s sacks.
For a defensive line that rushes the passer as badly as the Bengals’ line does, it would be complete malpractice from the front office to let the only viable pass-rusher on the entire roster walk in free agency. For that reason, Lawson should be the Bengals’ top in-house focus this offseason and be a crucial part of their defensive line for a long time.