Where do the Bengals go from here?
The 2022 NFL season is in the books and that means that it's a fresh slate for the Cincinnati Bengals as they enter the 2023 offseason. The Bengals are coming off their second straight appearance in the AFC Championship Game but sadly this time, they couldn't punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
As I said earlier, though, the slate is wiped clean and the goal of reaching the Super Bowl in the 2023 season is absolutely possible for this Bengals team. They came close to winning it all last year and this season they fell just shy of making it back to the big game.
Now that the offseason is up and running for all 32 teams, what's next for the Bengals?
Bengals 2023 offseason plans
Now that the Bengals have both of their coordinators returning for the 2023 season, we can focus on the actual offseason and what to expect.
The biggest priority is extending Joe Burrow. Anything else can wait. Burrow needs to be extended so that this storyline doesn't get drawn out to the point where we hear all of those "Is Joe Burrow really committed to Cincinnati?" "Do the Bengals really want Joe Burrow as their quarterback long-term?" type of stories. Get him extended pronto.
Once Burrow is extended, the Bengals then need to decide if they want to also keep Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson long-term. I know fans want Higgins back but if the team pays him WR1 type of money, it's going to be hard to keep other parts of the team strong.
The next biggest priority for the team needs to be fixating on the offensive line and what it'll take to make it better. Two straight seasons have now been derailed because of the offensive line and while I know this past season's was mostly due to injuries, the tackle positions still weren't good even before those injuries took place.
If the Cincinnati Bengals are serious about contending in 2023, they have to get those tackle positions in better shape. If Jonah Williams and La'el Collins are the starting tackles again in Week 1 of the regular season, the front office didn't do their homework.
Free agency-wise, Vonn Bell is the guy I'd like to see this team re-sign the most. Jessie Bates is probably as good as gone and losing both of their starting safeties would really hurt.
Hayden Hurst would be nice to have back but he might command too much money. Germaine Pratt falls into the same category but PFF's contract projection for him isn't too bad honestly. It's a deal the Bengals could probably afford.
When the draft arrives in late April, the Bengals will hold the 28th overall pick. With several positions needing help, the team would be wise to simply go with the best player available on their board. Look at what the Chiefs have done in recent drafts -- They've landed major talent past the first round and the Bengals need to focus on finding those fallen gems.
This is an important offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals. Decisions that they make over the next six months could determine whether they're vying for a Super Bowl in February or watching the big game from home.