The 2023 NFL trade deadline has come and gone and the Cincinnati Bengals did not make a move. This isn't all that surprising considering that they're not known for wanting to trade away draft picks in exchange for rentals but fans were hoping that this year might be different.
After all, the Bengals, despite their slow start, are still Super Bowl contenders. They just played their best game of the season and could have used some help to get them over the hump. Not only would a trade have helped them compete for a playoff spot but it'd have hopefully helped get them past the other three teams in the AFC North.
Let's take a look at why the Bengals lost the NFL trade deadline.
Failed to get a leg up in division/conference
The Bengals didn't make a move and neither did anyone in the AFC North. This would have been the perfect time for Cincinnati to make a massive, swing-for-the-fences kind of trade. The Ravens have been prone to making these trades in the past but stood pat. The Steelers could have tried to add offensive help but didn't. The Browns traded a player away but didn't add anyone. So why then, didn't the Bengals try to get a leg up on their divisional foes?
Meanwhile in the conference, the Bills and Jaguars both added help ahead of the trade deadline and they're both playoff contenders. The Bengals could have added to their roster and not stood pat but opted not to.
They need TE help desperately
I don't need to remind everyone how bad of a signing Irv Smith Jr. has been to this point but I'm going to anyway. The Bengals hoped he could be the next tight end to benefit from having Joe Burrow as his quarterback but that simply hasn't been the case. Smith had a boneheaded fumble in the Week 8 win against San Francisco that cost the Bengals points and it was the final straw for Bengals fans and the tight end.
The Bengals could have tried to add a tight end who could have elevated their offense before the deadline, but opted not to. There will be no reunion with Hayden Hurst or C.J. Uzomah, I'm afraid.
RB2 still a question mark
While the Bengals' run game finally looked competent in the Week 8 win over the 49ers, the backup running back position has been a massive question mark all season long. Chase Brown recently landed on IR, Chris Evans still isn't getting playing time, and Trayveon Williams isn't doing much in limited carries.
Bringing back Samaje Perine would have made a lot of Bengals fans happy and the current Bronco had a lot of success in this offense. Yet, the team didn't add any help. This was a whiff by the front office.