The Cincinnati Bengals made a huge splash in free agency by inking Saints pass rusher Trey Hendrickson to a four-year deal worth $60 million. Hendrickson exploded onto the pass-rushing scene with the Saints last year, notching 13.5 sacks through 15 games. The dude was a maniac.
Meanwhile, the Bengals pass rush barely existed, as they finished the season last in sacks. Furthermore, Carl Lawson — their sack leader– bolted in free agency. That forced Cincinnati into really putting a strong emphasis on adding pass rushers in the offseason and adding Hendrickson was a nice step in the right direction for them.
Not everyone expects big things from Hendrickson, however, as the former Saint made a list of NFL players who won’t live up to the hype this year. Chris Rollins of Bleacher Report put the list together and had this to say about Hendrickson,
"Cincinnati will gamble a huge bundle of cash on Hendrickson continuing to trend in the right direction, asking him to play a career-high snap count after last year’s high of 53 percent. But he’ll be the primary guy on his lonesome now surrounded by a peppering of rookies and unproven names on a rebuilding unit, not working with guys like Cameron Jordan.There’s a chance Hendrickson keeps ascending and takes the Bengals with him, of course. But that expectation and the fact he landed the sixth-highest dollar amount in free agency means it’s almost impossible he’ll match the hype."
The Bengals could end up disappointed with Trey Hendrickson’s production.
While Hendrickson was incredible in 2020, the big thing to hone in on with him is that his 13.5 sacks were the most of his career and he never came close to that in any other season. The previous year he had 4.5 sacks.
My argument to this is that Hendrickson started all 15 games he played in last year whereas the previous season, he only started three. This gave him more opportunities to get after the quarterback and he made the most of those starts, that’s for sure.
I’m not going to fault the Bengals for this deal even if Hendrickson doesn’t live up to the contract he signed. Cincinnati needed pass rushers and they had the money to add one of the biggest names in free agency coming off a monster year, so wisely, they went and brought him in.
Maybe Hendrickson doesn’t get past 13.5 sacks again while with the Bengals, but if he can give this pass rush a boost, the deal will likely be looked at as a good one.