With A.J. Green’s time in Cincinnati likely up, the Bengals will undoubtedly be in the market for additional wide receiver help this offseason. While the club already has two tremendous options in Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, a consistent deep threat in Zac Taylor’s offense could allow for Joe Burrow to look even better than he did during his opening campaign.
Ultimately, the acquisition of a third solid receiver could allow the team to mask the deficiencies on the roster they are unable to completely address in the coming months. In other words, the Bengals may be able to form a high-powered offense capable of leading them back to relevance before they’re able to sort out all of their issues on defense.
So far, fan-favorite options for completing the wide receiver corps. include Ja’Marr Chase with the fifth overall pick in the draft or nabbing a guy like Curtis Samuel or Josh Reynolds off the free-agent market. However, Pro Football Focus analyst Ian Hartitz has another target in mind: Kenny Golladay.
The 27-year-old wideout is set to hit the open market after spending the opening years of his professional career with the Lions. With Detriot fully committing to “rebuilding” mode, Golladay could look for greener pastures. Catching passes from Burrow certainly qualifies as such.
Spotrac has set Golladay’s market value at $17M per year. Although the Bengals are slated to be flush with cap space and possess that flexibility to generate plenty more spending power, that kind of money appears to be over their budget on the surface.
However, unprecedented circumstances have left many teams in a bind financially. In fact, nearly half the teams in the league are projected to be over the cap once the offseason begins. This fact keeps it in the realm of possibility that Cincinnati could get Golladay in stripes at a more affordable contract price because the number of capable suitors is fairly limited.
What Kenny Golladay would bring to the Bengals
For many, the number one attribute desired in any wide receiver brought in by the Bengals is speed. Rightfully so, considering how Burrow struggled with the deep ball in his opening act after it appeared to be one of his strengths on his college tape.
Golladay ran a 4.5 second 40 back at the 2017 combine. While that’s a solid showing, it doesn’t fall into that “elite” category of speed that looks so good on paper.
However, when adjusted for his height and weight (6’4, 218-pounds) his speed falls in the 91st percentile. He’s shown repeatedly throughout his career that corners have trouble dealing with his combination of size and speed, which should put to rest the argument that his traits don’t fit what the Bengals need in their rotation.
In fact, Golladay is known for exactly what the Bengals need: deep-threat ability. During his best year as a pro, he was averaging 18.3 yards per reception, the fourth-best mark in the entire league that year. To put it simply, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Burrow consistently strikes out on explosive plays down the field if Golladay finds himself in the orange and black.
If the Bengals are able to re-sign their own free-agents and still come up with enough money to land Golladay, it may result in the construction of the most dangerous trio of receivers in the entire NFL, especially if you factor in the continued development of Higgins.
Loading up on weapons for Burrow is likely the fastest route back to the playoffs for Cincinnati, making Golladay an intriguing target to watch as March’s free-agent period inches closer.