There are many ways this upcoming offseason can go for the Cincinnati Bengals. Between some of the big names that have expired contracts and the team as a whole being one of the least flawed we've seen in a while, if the front office plays their cards right, the Bengals could be hoisting the Lombardi next February.
Of course, that's a very big 'if' and we won't know how good the moves they made are until the season is actually underway.
You can still guess and throw predictions out there, though, and that's what I'm going to do here, with what I think are the three best-case scenarios that are *mostly* plausible.
Fulfill biggest needs in free agency and go BPA in the draft
This scenario is very achievable for the front office, and it would benefit the Bengals in the short term and the foreseeable future. There still are a few question marks throughout the depth chart, namely on the offensive line, but this is probably the least flawed team that Cincy has sported in recent memory.
Think about it, what other big holes are there besides the offensive tackles? Maybe cornerback depth? Interior D-Line? Running back? I wouldn't even call those holes more than I'd say they need improvement, nor are they positions that they would have to shell out a lot of money for.
For cornerback, the Bengals need more depth and maybe someone to step up for Chidobe Awuzie if he's not 100%.
When it comes to defensive tackle, it's not like they need a star guy to give a big contract, they just need someone who they can rotate in on passing downs that'll generate pressure.
For running back, there are so many solid ones in this free agency class that they'll be able to sign one for cheap, and that's assuming they don't keep Joe Mixon.
The point is that they can very well fulfill their biggest needs in free agency. And if they do that, going BPA (best player available) in the draft rather than focusing on positions they would've needed could be what gets this team a Lombardi.
Just look at the Chiefs this year. They went BPA throughout the draft and almost every single one of their rookies made an impact during their playoff run (Skyy Moore, Isiah Pacheco, and Trent McDuffie just to name a few).
I would love for Cincinnati to have a class like this in the upcoming draft, rookies who can make an impact and flash the potential they have for the future. They're capable of doing so, we've seen it the last few years, and I'm not just talking about the first-rounders like Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, but they've grabbed some steals as well.
Logan Wilson, Germaine Pratt, and Sam Hubbard -- arguably the best players on a great defense -- are all third-round picks of their respective draft classes. If the Bengals can go BPA this draft instead of focusing on what they need, it might lead to a Lombardi.