Trade for Brayden Willis (49ers tight end)
The Bengals did not draft a tight end in the 2023 draft but they did address the position by bringing back Drew Sample and Mitchell Wilcox. They also signed Irv Smith Jr., who is expected to be the starter. But they could address the position again by trading for San Fransisco 49ers tight end Brayden Willis.
There is a lot of talent at the tight end position in front of Willis in San Fransisco. The starter is George Kittle, of course. Also, the 49ers drafted Cameron Latu out of Alabama in the third round. NBC Sports has Willis listed fifth on the 49ers' depth chart. Robert Morrison of Niner Noise has Willis fourth on his depth chart, listing Kittle, Latu, and Charlie Werner ahead of the former Sooner.
Why and how Willis lasted until the seventh round is dumbfounding. He did everything at Oklahoma. He is an incredible run blocker, a good pass catcher, an excellent pass blocker, and will line up everywhere. The multi-talented tight end can give your team a quarter or two as a wildcat quarterback if he needs to.
So why would the 49ers let him go? They probably won’t. But if there is a chance to acquire Willis, for whatever reason, the Bengals should seize the opportunity.
Even if the Bengals don’t trade for Willis, they might be able to get him off of waivers after the preseason if San Fransisco tries sneaking him onto their practice squad. If he makes it to their practice squad, the Bengals could sign him from there if they so desire.
Finally, the Bengals only have one tight end under contract beyond the 2023 season and that's UDFA Christian Trahan. Pulling off a minor trade for a seventh-round, fifth-string tight end would allow Cincinnati to get a good and long look at a player who could fit perfectly with what a Zac Taylor-led offense needs from its tight ends.
Like every other team in the NFL, the Bengals will be scouring the waiver wire for players to help improve the roster after the final cutdown day in August. Also, many teams will seek something in return for players they think other coaching staffs might value before releasing them for nothing.
In theory, what it should take to acquire a backup offensive lineman, a third-string linebacker, and a fifth-string tight end would be minor. If Weaver, Tom, or Willis fall become available, Cincinnati should explore acquiring one, or all, via trade.