Bengals don’t have as big of an offseason advantage as people think

Eli Apple, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
Eli Apple, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /

Over the Cap analyst, Jason Fitzgerald released his ranking for NFL offseason resources for 2022. The Cincinnati Bengals do not come in as high as you would initially expect.

Fitzgerald bases his analysis on three factors: draft value, effective cap space, and potential snaps lost to free agency.

When that particular hodgepodge is mixed together, the Bengals rank 13th overall. A far cry from the “fourth most available cap space” scenario that we will continue to hear.

Of the Bengals, Fitzgerald writes:

"The big thing for the Bengals is that they rank 4th in the NFL in effective cap space and their core is intact. With a relatively average amount of snaps to replace the Bengals should go for broke and use their money to fix their offensive line. If they do not do that this year I would expect them to get cold feet with spending in 2023 as well since they will begin preparing for a Burrow extension. Next year is the best year to go for it."

The Bengals free agents, along with their percentage of snaps taken, are:

On offense:

  • Quinton Spain (90.63%)
  • C.J. Uzomah (72.98%)
  • Riley Reiff (64.7%)
  • Mike Thomas (12.92%)
  • Auden Tate (10.46%)
  • Stanley Morgan (12.28%)
  • Brandon Allen (8.37%)
  • Fred Johnson (8.19%)
  • Mitchell Wilcox (7.64%)
  • Trenton Irwin (7.55%)

On defense:

  • Eli Apple (87.10%)
  • Jessie Bates (84.79%)
  • Larry Ogunjobi (64.41%)
  • B.J. Hill (44.66%)
  • Josh Tupou (36.48%)
  • Wyatt Ray (19.48%)
  • Ricardo Allen (15.21%)
  • Tre Flowers (13.52%)
  • Darius Phillips (8%)
  • Vernon Hargreaves (6.41%)
  • Jalen Davis (4.98%)
  • Clay Johnston (4%)
  • Jordan Evans (3.91%)

On special teams:

  • Stanley Morgan (65.96%)
  • Mitchell Wilcox (50.53%)
  • Tre Flowers (32.14%)
  • Clark Harris (31.71%)
  • Kevin Huber (31.71%)
  • Clay Johnston (28.54%)
  • Mike Thomas (24.74%)
  • Ricardo Allen (23.04%)
  • C.J. Uzomah (21.99%)
  • Jordan Evans (21.35%)
  • Wyatt Ray (14.59%)
  • Larry Ogunjobi (13.95%)
  • Jessie Bates (13.74%)
  • Josh Tupou (12.05%)
  • Riley Reiff (11.21%)
  • Eli Apple (7.61%)
  • Auden Tate (6.98%)
  • Vernon Hargreaves (2.54%)
  • Fred Johnson (1.06%)

Hopefully, the Bengals can re-sign Bates, Huber, Harris, Ogunjobi, and Uzomah. You should expect Morgan to come back because of his special teams contributions.

Good news, Bad news for Bengals

An extension or franchise tag for Bates will change the cap space number by itself. Yes, that number could be initially offset by the potential release of Trae Waynes. It would also trigger a dead cap number of $5 million, according to Spotrac.

The Bengals currently have a dead cap number of nearly $3.5 million spread out amongst eight players. A dead cap number of $5 million for just one player might not sit well with upper management.

Releasing players to save money against the cap is not a zero-sum proposition. No cap.

Taking into account only the draft value and effective cap space, the Bengals are fourth in the NFL. However, using only those two measurements, the three teams ahead of them are the Dolphins, Chargers, and Jaguars. The Dolphins and Chargers were contending for the final playoff spots this year. We should expect both of those teams to be in an even better position next season.

Furthermore, the Bengals are ranked 13th overall. The bad news here is that there are nine AFC teams better positioned than the Bengals, for now. Including the division rival and last year’s talk of the NFL town, Cleveland Browns. That leaves only six AFC teams ranked below the Bengals according to this metric.

To add more urgency to the situation, the Ravens and Steelers rank right behind Cincinnati at 14th and 15th, respectively.

Bottom Line

A lot is being said about the Bengals and how much they have to spend. In application, however, it may not be as much as we think or hope. Especially when it comes to signing outside free agents.

Yes, the Bengals are in a good position to do things like upgrade their offensive line situation. It just so happens that nine other AFC teams are in a better position according to one Capologist.

Next. 8 Easiest Roster Decisions for Bengals. dark

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