ESPN predicts that Bengals steal a key free agent from division rival

This would kill two birds with one stone!
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals need to get better in the trenches this offseason. One of the best names they could add to their pass rush, a unit that dropped off in 2023, is Justin Madubuike, who has played for the Baltimore Ravens for the first four years of his career.

Madubuike, a former third-round pick in the 2020 draft, is now slated to hit free agency and Matt Bowen of ESPN thinks the best landing spot for the pass rusher is with the Bengals.

"Look for the Ravens to make a strong play to retain Madubuike, who had a career-high 13 sacks in 2023. But I also like him in Cincinnati for a defense that needs to add more speed and playmaking ability to its front seven. The Bengals allowed a league-worst 6.0 yards per play last season. Madubuike has the foot quickness and first-step juice to leverage blockers and make an impact on the pocket."

Matt Bowen

Bengals could make life easier for themselves while making it more difficult for Ravens in one fell swoop.

Madubuike finished the 2023 season with 13 sacks and would be a terrific addition to a Bengals pass rush that needs someone other than Trey Hendrickson to get after the quarterback. Some might worry about Madubuike being a one-hit wonder (he had just 8.5 sacks in his previous three seasons combined) but there was a lot of the same talk surrounding Hendrickson and that's turned out well. Fear shouldn't be a reason not to add what could be a game-changing pass-rusher.

Spotrac projects Madubuike to receive a four-year deal worth roughly $81 million with an annual salary of $20.3 million. The Bengals are in a great situation when it comes to cap space and could easily afford to bring in Madubuike. Chris Jones could be another pass-rushing option but he's approaching 30 while Madubuike is 26 years old.

Not only would signing Madbuike make the Bengals stronger but it'd weaken the Ravens and that's a win-win for all Bengals fans.