5 Bengals offseason decisions in 2023 that already look like a disaster

  • Tight end woes
  • Is Volson the guy?
  • Starting safeties
  • Joey B's backup
  • Murphy is invisible so far
Sep 17, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. (81) catches a pass
Sep 17, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. (81) catches a pass / Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Not investing in a reliable backup quarterback

When a team has a quarterback as good as Joe Burrow, it's going to be hard to replace that production if he has to miss an extended period of time. This is the situation the Bengals are in right now, as Burrow tweaked his calf in the Week 2 loss after dealing with a calf strain throughout the summer.

If Burrow can't go, it'll be former UDFA Jake Browning taking control of the offense. Browning has never started an NFL game before and hey, maybe he'll be great! The likelihood of that happening isn't high, however. If anything, the Bengals will lean on the run game, occasionally force Browning to throw some passes, and hope for the best.

The Bengals had an opportunity to hit the reset button at the backup quarterback spot this year and Browning is who they opted to go with. Cooper Rush was available and reportedly interested in signing with Cincinnati. That would have been the best backup quarterback signing they could have managed but he decided to re-sign with the Cowboys.

The Bengals did sign Trevor Siemian, a journeyman in the NFL, but he looked underwhelming in the preseason. Browning won the backup job fair and square over him so maybe it was for the best that they didn't go with the vet there.

We'll see how Browning performs if he does indeed have to fill in for Joey Franchise at all. If he does have to step in and performs poorly, not adding a better option to back up Burrow will be a decision that haunts the front office this season.