The Cincinnati Bengals need to make some decisions regarding the linebacker position. Will they re-sign Germaine Pratt? Will they extend Logan Wilson? If the answer to both of those questions is yes then the move I'm going to talk about in this post isn't necessary.
If one of the answers is yes and the other is no, however, the Bengals will head to free agency to replace Pratt or Wilson. Leighton Vander Esch of the Dallas Cowboys is who they need to zero in on in that case.
Vander Esch finished the 2022 season with a respectable 70.8 PFF grade and a coverage grade of 75.6. He came in at No. 41 on PFF's list of best free agents and was projected to earn a three-year deal worth $20.25 million and an annual salary of $6.75 million ($12 million in guarantees).
Leighton Vander Esch needs to be on Bengals radar
The only major downside with signing Vander Esch is that he's been injury-prone during the course of his career. He started all 17 games in the 2021 season and only missed three games in 2022 due to a shoulder injury so he's been able to remain healthier over the past two years.
Bengals fans want to see both Pratt and Wilson back with the team for the foreseeable future but that's going to be hard to accomplish. Pratt might want more money than the Bnegals are willing to pay him and with Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins also needing extensions, Wilson might be the third priority there.
If either of those guys aren't retained, Vander Esch could slide in as the replacement and would thrive under Lou Anarumo.