After J.J. Watt was granted his release request, the Cincinnati Bengals may not be the favorite choice to land former Houston Texan, but that does not mean they shouldn’t put in an offer. After all, the club does have a lot of work to do to improve their roster this offseason. Why not start with targeting one of the biggest quarterback terrorizers the league has seen as of recently?
There are many concerns to address this offseason, but one of the main focuses in Cincinnati needs to be improving a defense that ranked 23rd in expected points. This metric calculates the points contributed by all areas of the defense. Ranking 23rd is not good, but even worse is the fact that the Bengals had a -142.2 rating compared to a league average of -103.7.
Of course, D.J. Reader coming back from injury will be a huge boost to the run defense, but there are several other pieces that need to be added to prevent the defense from being a liability once again in 2021. When you take into account the uncertainty surrounding free agent Carl Lawson, and the underperformance of Geno Atkins, the defensive line, in particular, is an area that could use an immediate upgrade.
Bengals may be able to offer Watt more than most
Watt is about as good an addition as the Bengals could hope for. Although there will be plenty of suitors, the Bengals are in a position to make him a compelling offer.
Watt was set to earn $17.5 M in the upcoming year, so he will likely not come cheap. He may be willing to take a lower salary to play for a winning team, or with his brothers in Pittsburg, but that is conjecture at this point.
What we do know, is that with a pandemic-impacted salary cap, not many teams will be able to find that kind of money. The Bengals, on the other hand, are set to have the sixth most cap space entering this offseason, and that is before any cost-saving moves are made.
With a limited number of their own crucial free agents that need to be re-signed, Cincinnati should once again be an active player in free agency and that includes a scenario involving Watt. Bringing in one of the best players on the market would be a huge step towards turning this team into a contender.
With the resources available and a clear need to boost the pass rush, the Bengals should explore what it would cost to bring J.J. Watt to the Queen City.