Three Bengals were named to the 100 free agents of the 2021 offseason by Pro Football Focus. Cornerbacks William Jackson who is ranked 16th, Mackensie Alexander who is 80th and edge rusher Carl Lawson who is 27th are the three Cincinnati impending free agents who were in the top 100.
Pro Football Focus profiled all 100 of their projected top free agents and where they will sign during the 2021 offseason. Jackson had a $9.6 million option picked up for the 2020 season. After an outstanding rookie campaign in 2017, Jackson was criticized for not living up to his potential by PFF since then.
The Bengals signed CB Trae Waynes to a three-year $42 million contract during the 2020 offseason. Like what would have been Jackson’s rookie season in 2016, Waynes was lost for the season with a torn pectoral for the entire season. PFF projects the Bengals to re-sign Jackson for three years and $40 million.
Lawson led Cincinnati with 5.5 sacks in 2020 and added 36 tackles. Cincinnati was credited by PFF for drafting Lawson in the fourth round in 2017 out of Auburn, calling him a steal. The Bengals will likely look to add additional help at edge rusher in addition to Lawson in the 2021 offseason.
Cincinnati will look to free agency, the draft, or possibly both to upgrade its pass rush. Lawson is projected by PFF to re-sign with the Bengals with a four-year $55 million contract. Lawson started 11 of the 16 games he played in 2020. Those numbers are in line with what a starting NFL edge rusher receives.
Alexander is the third of the three Bengals that PFF rank in its top 100. Like Jackson and Lawson, Alexander is projected to leave Cincinnati. Alexander is projected to sign a two-year $6 million contract with the Chicago Bears. Alexander gave the Bengals good depth as a primarily a slot CB in his one year in Cincinnati.