5 pending 2024 free agents Bengals fans should worry about losing

These guys might not be in stripes after 2023.
Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout
Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Chidobe Awuzie

I may be biased, but in my opinion, the Bengals have one of the most underrated cornerback rooms in the league with a perfect mix of proven veterans and young players still trying to reach their potential. Mike Hilton is arguably the best nickel cornerback in the league, Cam Taylor-Britt flashed a lot of what he could end up being towards the end of the season and the playoffs, and second-round pick D.J. Turner II could be the cornerback of the future if he pans out.

But every cornerback room needs the lockdown guy who can go toe-to-toe with the other team's best option, and for Cincy that is Chidobe Awuzie. He hasn't allowed a passer rating over 80.0 when targeted in two seasons and was on pace to have his best year in terms of completely shutting down his opponents in 2022 until he, unfortunately, suffered a knee injury midway through the year that'd sideline him for the rest of the season.

This, ultimately, may end up being the deciding factor in whether or not the Bengals chose to re-sign him. It's expected that he'll be rusty to start considering knee injuries are notoriously hard to come back from especially at the cornerback position since it is one of speed and mobility, but if he shows signs of being slowed down throughout the whole season, the front office probably won't take the risk of re-signing him.

Awuzie is a rare case where money won't be the main issue that deters the team from giving him a new contract. Thankfully, based on Awuzie's own words, rehabilitation for his knee sounds like it is going well, so hopefully he'll return to full form in the 2023 season.


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If that happens, I don't think there's any question that the Bengals will re-sign him. If he doesn't though, or gets injured again (knock on wood), then this could very well be his last season as a Bengal.