Bengals, in dire need of talent influx, projected to have plenty of cap space

CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 13: (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - DECEMBER 13: (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Bengals are projected to have among the most cap space in the league this offseason, which is comforting news for a team in need of a big talent influx.

After suffering a thorough beat down from the Dallas Cowboys, one of the league’s worst teams this season, it has become painfully obvious that the Cincinnati Bengals will need much more than a top-three draft pick to fix their problems. At the very least, the club is going to need a repeat performance of last year’s free agency period paired with a strong draft showing to become competitive.

Thankfully for those residing within the Queen City, the franchise that calls Paul Brown Stadium home is projected to be among those best-positioned salary cap wise once the offseason arrives. According to Over The Cap, the Bengals are currently slated to have $35.2M to spend this offseason, good for sixth-most in the NFL.

There are many valid criticisms of Cincinnati’s front office but one area they’ve always been strong in is salary cap management. They’ve put themselves in a good position to not only re-sign their top free agents such as William Jackson III and Carl Lawson, but to have the ability to dip into the outside market as well.

The Bengals can create plenty of additional cap space

While $35M is plenty to work with, the Bengals have the potential to increase their spending power in a hurry, allowing them to chase some of the big free-agent prizes this offseason. There are a number of players that could potentially become cap casualties.

Candidate number one would be offensive lineman, Bobby Hart. In the wake of Joe Burrow’s injury, the club is likely to undergo a massive overhaul in the trenches, which could mean parting ways with the 26-year-old bookend. Moving on from the infamous right tackle would save Cincinnati $5.9M and could go towards signing a guy like Joe Thuney.

After Hart, the cap decisions become more difficult. All-time Bengals’ great, Geno Atkins, and his massive $14.8M cap hit are lurking on the books. The former star defensive tackle has played just 14% of the defensive snaps this season and has produced next to nothing.

The decision-makers need to decide if the current defensive scheme or perhaps a mysterious shoulder injury is to blame for his rapid decline. If they determine he simply has nothing left to provide on the field, they stand to gain $9.6M by moving on, although they’d have to absorb over $5M in dead cap space.

With those two moves alone, the Bengals would suddenly have in the ballpark of $50M to spend this offseason. They may need every penny of that to build a roster capable of competing in the AFC North.

There haven’t been many positives for the Bengals this season but at the very least, there’s hope for the future. Set to have plenty of cap space, Cincinnati looks likely to be active once more this offseason.

Next. Five free agents the Bengals should already plan on targeting. dark