Bengals: 9 players to protect in a hypothetical expansion draft

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Trey Hendrickson (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals to Protect – No. 3: Trey Hendrickson

The Bengals dished out a lot of money to Trey Hendrickson over the offseason and it was strange considering they gave him more money than the Jets gave Carl Lawson and Lawson was the Bengals’ leader in sacks last year. That being said, Hendrickson had a monster year for the Saints last year and the Bengals are banking on him bringing that noise to the Queen City.

Hendrickson had 13.5 sacks last year in New Orleans and exploded onto the scene after three quieter seasons at the helm. The one big year has made some wonder if he’ll be a one-season wonder but the Bengals believe otherwise and gave him a four-year contract worth $60 million this offseason.

Not protecting Hendrickson wouldn’t be the end of the world due to that hefty salary but the Bengals need a pass-rusher and they need one badly. Losing Hendrickson would free up salary space but they’re not going to find a pass-rusher with Hendrickson’s abilities at this point of the offseason (or whenever the expansion draft takes place).

Due to how bad the Bengals’ pass-rush was last year, protecting Hendrickson is a no-brainer.