In last year's draft, the Cincinnati Bengals spent their first-round pick on an eventual replacement for Jessie Bates, who ended up departing this offseason. If Cincinnati continues to address pending free agents in 2024, then here are five players they could be looking to replace when the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off later this month.
The Bengals signed Awuzie in the 2021 offseason hoping that he could become a solid piece in their secondary. Awuzie played tremendously in the 2021 season though he did have a rough postseason outing. Awuzie was off to another decent start in 2022 but unfortunately he tore his ACL midway through the season and missed the rest of the year and ensuing playoff run.
Awuzie is entering the final year of his contract and with the injury from last season, he might not be the same player in 2023. That's why it could make sense for Cincinnati to draft a cornerback to eventually replace Awuzie in 2024 and beyond.
The former second-round pick is entering the final year of his contract and while cutting him would save the Bengals $8.9 million (not to mention that Boyd is a $10 million cap hit in 2023), it doesn't feel like the team is parting ways with him. The Bengals missed Boyd during the AFC title game so it's not surprising that they want to keep him around.
As for next year, with the Bengals already needing to pay Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, it's highly doubtful that they pay Boyd as well. The Bengals probably aren't spending their first-round pick on a wideout but it wouldn't be surprising if they looked to fill Boyd's departure on Day 2 or early on Day 3.