3 reasons why a lost season isn't the end of the world for the Bengals

  • Top-15 (maybe higher) draft pick is coming
  • Burrow's career = Window
  • Time to wake up!

2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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2. The window is still open

The overreacting Bengals faithful and fans from the other AFC North teams relishing in Cincinnati's downfall might say otherwise, but relax, this season wasn't the last gasp of a franchise whose window is shutting. With Burrow locked down long-term and Chase soon to follow suit, the Bengals' contending window is as open as ever, and that sentiment is reinforced by the news of the star quarterback's surgery going as planned.

As Burrow said himself, the Super Bowl window is his whole career.

That being said, I understand the doubts that come with this claim. After all, with each year they don't win it, they lose at least a couple of players who contributed greatly to this Super Bowl aspirations. The 2022 offseason notably saw C.J. Uzomah and Larry Ogunjobi leave, 2023 saw Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, Hayden Hurst, and Samaje Perine also go, and this next season could potentially feature the most notable departures with guys like Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Chidobe Awuzie, D.J. Reader, and many more on the last year of their contracts.

While saying goodbye to guys we've grown used to seeing in stripes does hurt, this idea works both ways. Yes, the team will naturally have to let go of a lot of familiar faces who have made a big impact on the team, but that just means they will also be bringing in new faces who can match or even outdo that impact.

Just over the last couple of years-- excluding the obvious Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase additions-- they have added tons of guys, both through free agency and the draft, who have contributed to their recent winning ways. Trey Hendrickson, Mike Hilton, Cam Taylor-Britt, Evan McPherson, D.J. Turner II, and B.J. Hill are a few names to join the stripes.

So, while the team will inevitably be letting go of impactful guys who have helped this team form this new winning identity, it doesn't mean they can't successfully replace them. As long as they hold on to Burrow and Chase-- and those two remain mostly healthy-- I see no reason why they won't be contending for years to come.