Examining the Bengals' wide receiver depth after the first wave of free agency

Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout
Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Rotational Pieces: Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas, Jalen McMillan

If you're unfamiliar with the term 'running back-by-committee', it boils down to having two or three running backs that split carries rather than having one bell cow take the bulk of snaps while the other running backs on the depth chart scarcely get playing time. The Bengals could do something similar to that this season but with the WR3 role, which is now left open with no definitive solution following the likely departure of Tyler Boyd.

Irwin, who has essentially been the Bengals' WR4 for the past couple of seasons, has recently signed a 1-year extension and will no doubt have a far bigger role if Boyd is gone -- a role that he's undoubtedly earned in his limited opportunities.

Over the last two years as a rotational piece for Cincinnati, Irwin caught 40 passes for 547 yards and five touchdowns. While he's far from a game-changer or an explosive option in the passing game, he has served as a reliable target for Burrow, especially when one of the top guys goes down.

But, while Irwin's role will be greater in 2024, he might not be a solidified WR3. Instead, he could end up splitting many more snaps than Boyd did, and one of those players he'll be sharing with is Andrei Iosivas.

The 6th-round pick out of Princeton didn't have a remarkable rookie campaign in 2023, but he flashed a lot of potential. He had 15 receptions, four touchdowns, and was able to show off some great verticality and athleticism here and there. As a result, it wouldn't be surprising in the slightest if he saw a major increase in touches in 2024. Again, he will be sharing reps, but Iosivas will almost certainly see more of the field in 2024.

This brings us to the last member of this group of rotational pieces: Washington Husky wideout Jalen McMillan. While the Bengals will most likely address the trenches in the first two rounds of the draft-- probably offensive tackle in the first and a run-stopping defensive lineman in the second-- it isn't inconceivable that they'd use at least one of their picks after to try and add some firepower to the wide receiver room. And with McMillan projected to be a 3rd-rounder, he could very well be in orange-and-black by training camp.

Although he saw a decline in production in 2023-- not so coincidentally as Rome Odunze set himself apart as Washington's clear-cut WR1 with an incredible season-- McMillan still put up solid numbers with 559 yards and 5 touchdowns. Overall, he appears to have a lot of upside. Plus, he spent a lot of time in the slot during his collegiate career, so he could be the eventual long-term replacement for Boyd a little further down the road.

As for this year (if he does get drafted to Cincy, that is), his role will probably be limited just like Iosivas and Jones were, albeit slightly less so.