As we inch closer to the start of Bengals free agency, the team has a few different areas to hone in on. While the offensive line is the biggest priority, the stripes would be wise to add help in the pass-rushing department. This is where Jerry Hughes could come into play.
Arjun Menon of Pro Football Focus listed the top 50 free agents and gave predictions as to where he could see those free agents landing. Hughes, who came in at No. 39, was predicted to land with Cincinnati on a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.
Here’s what Menon had to say on the matter:
"Hughes has been amazing for the Bills for quite some time, but it’s time for him to depart Buffalo, especially since the Bills drafted Gregory Rousseau and Boogie Basham last year.The Bengals have a pretty solid pass rush with Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, but they lack depth behind them. Hughes has recorded 50-plus pressures in nine straight years and can be a force if used correctly in Cincinnati."
Bengals Free Agency: Jerry Hughes makes sense in Cincinnati
Hughes, a former first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Colts, is entering his age 34 season but he still has plenty left in the tank. This past season, he appeared in all 17 games and started all but one of them. During that time, he racked up seven QB hits and two sacks.
As Menon noted in the blurb above, Cincy has a nice pass-rushing duo with Hendrickson and Hubbard, but they need depth. Hughes would give them an affordable depth piece and he’d have opportunities to show what he can do.
Hughes isn’t the same guy who had back-to-back double-digit sack seasons but that’s not what the Bengals are looking for. They have their pass-rushing stars and are also getting Joseph Ossai back for next season, which is yet another added boost.
Signing Hughes might not excite fans all that much but depth is important so the team needs to fill in the gaps where they can. Hughes would be just that.