What to expect from Bengals' WRs Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas as they enter year two in the NFL

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals enter an offseason where vital decisions will need to be made, and the ball has already started rolling. One position group to keep an eye on is wide receiver. The Bengals answered the biggest question entering the spring surrounding the team, which was what they would do with Tee Higgins. 

In the eyes of the front office and coaching staff, designating Higgins as a franchise player made the most sense moving forward. The move will now hold him down in Cincinnati for at least another season, barring a trade. The tag was worth $21.8 million for the 2024 NFL season.

However, Higgins isn't the only receiver with question marks surrounding his name. The longest-tenured offensive player on the team, Tyler Boyd, will also face free agency. Boyd has been with the Bengals for eight seasons and has racked up 513 receptions, 6,000 yards, and 31 touchdowns.

Boyd excelled in his slot role with the team over his tenure, and it’s fair to say that he has been the glue that has kept the Bengals' offense flowing over the last few seasons. Now, a decision will need to be made on an extremely impactful player to the team and the city of Cincinnati.

Boyd is headed for free agency and the veteran receiver is expected to make roughly $8-12 million annually, according to Spotrac. As a result, there's a real possibility he won't be back in Cincinnati.

Time for Cincinnati's young receivers to step up

If Cincinnati decides to let Boyd walk, that will pave the way for the 2023 rookies to have their first real chance at making a clear and precise impact in the offense. Charlie Jones was drafted in the 4th round out of Purdue, and the Princeton product, Andrei Iosivas, was drafted in the 6th round. 

Charlie Jones set the scene right away from special teams, running back a punt return for a touchdown in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. This helped him land the punt return job outright. However, he didn't make much of a dent in the receiver position from a statistical standpoint as a rookie.

Meanwhile, Iosivas found the end zone four times on 15 receptions and saw more and more action as the season developed.

Jones will be the punt returner once again, and that will more than likely be his primary role in 2024. But, he can add another sense of speed to the offense, and that’s one thing that you cannot teach. It still seems like Iosivas has the upper edge on the depth chart at the position due to a larger impact in 2023, and how well he transitioned into his role with the team. But both could prove to be offensive factors.

Both receivers bring something different to the table. Iosivas has a big frame, strong hands, and can make plays through contact with a high catch radius, while Jones has elite speed and agility. He's adept at making people miss when he gets downhill, and he has proven he can get behind the defense, which can add big play possibilities within the offense. 

The most interesting development will be after all of the pieces are in place, seeing what new offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher brings to the table. What tweaks and changes does he make to put his players, including Jones and Iosivas, in the best position possible to succeed? 

Only time will tell, but the two second-year receivers should get an opportunity to truly prove themselves in the coming season.