The Cincinnati Bengals will have some tough decisions to make this offseason when it comes to who to keep and who to cut. What a lot of people aren't talking about right now is who is hitting the free agent market in 2025 and what those potential departures could mean for Cincinnati.
So, even though we're not even in the 2024 offseason, why not skip ahead and jump to what 2025 could bring for the Bengals? Here are six big-name Bengals who are currently slated to be free agents. I should note that this could change if any of these guys end up signing extensions this upcoming offseason.
The only name I feel nearly 100% confident in saying that he won't hit free agency in 2025 is Ja'Marr Chase, who the Bengals took with the fifth overall pick in 2021. It was a surprising pick, as many had tabbed Penei Sewell as a near lock to end up in Cincinnati due to its offensive line woes in Joe Burrow's rookie year.
Well, the Chase pick has been a good one (though Sewell wouldn't have been a bad pick by any means). The LSU wideout secured Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and has had over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his three seasons in Cincinnati. The Bengals will be extending him this offseason and that feels like a certainty unless something unforeseen pops up.
Before the 2021 season kicked off, the Bengals had a trade that seemed pretty low-key at the time. The deal sent former first-round pick Billy Price to the Giants in exchange for B.J. Hill, a lesser-known defensive lineman who wasn't getting the playing time he deserved.
During his inaugural season in Cincinnati, Hill balled out, notching a career-high 5.5 sacks and 12 QB hits. Hill was a free agent following that tremendous season, so the Bengals rewarded him with a three-year deal worth $30 million. He'll be in the final year of that contract in 2024 and will hit free agency in 2025, assuming he's not extended before then.
Hill will be 29 when he hits the free-agent market so it's doubtful that Cincinnati ponies up and pays him again, unless it's a short-term deal. It feels as though a team would be more than happy to pay him another large contract but it'd be surprising if it's in Cincinnati.