The Cincinnati Bengals’ roster is one of the best in the NFL but unfortunately, they’re quickly approaching the part where they have to pay their big-time players and that will make it tougher to compete at the highest level. Here are seven Bengals who are next in line for extensions.
When teams draft players, they typically sign those guys to four-year deals and if the player was a first-round pick they can have their fifth-year option picked up.
Once young players get off their rookie deals, that’s when teams have to make a difficult choice — Do they pay the piper to keep the player in town, or do they let them walk in free agency?
The 2024 offseason, in particular, will see some big Cincinnati Bengals names hitting the free-agent market but if the team can get ahead of things, they might be able to sign some of those players to extensions either now or next offseason.
The 2024 offseason is what I focused on with the players who should be extended sooner rather than later. I left Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell off of this list because the team clearly is planning for life without them. Let’s check out seven Bengals due for extensions.
Contract info courtesy of Over the Cap
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference
Grades courtesy of Pro Football Focus
7. D.J. Reader
Fans knew that D.J. Reader would be a bigger part of the team in 2021 after he appeared in just five games in 2020. Reader famously said that the reason he signed with Cincinnati in the 2020 offseason is that he believed in Joe Burrow and wanted to play on his team.
Reader remained healthy in 2021, appearing in all but two regular-season games. He’s slated to hit free agency following the 2023 season and is someone the Bengals should try to extend before he gets to that point.
Reader’s current contract is for four years and $53 million, which seems fair considering the impact he’s had on defense. He finished this past season with a PFF grade of 80.8 and was a big piece on the defensive line. Hopefully, the team can extend him past the 2023 season.