More than likely, Cincinnati will stand pat at 3-4-1 and rely on their current roster to get them to their ultimate destination this season. It’s hard to say where that is after an up-and-down first half of the regular season.
We’ve seen enough to think this team should be buyers at the trade deadline and make a move to increase their chances of winning a Super Bowl, not just simply making the playoffs.
That’s what Alshon Jeffery would certainly do for this team. Jeffery is who NFL.com thinks is the most logical trade target for the Bengals. However, they think the cost of getting Jeffery is probably too high for what the Bengals would be willing to give up...
Cincinnati Bengals: Buy Alshon Jeffery
Dan Hanzus: The Bengals have learned the hard way this season that the bill comes due. When you send your quarterback into a new season without most of his favorite targets from the year before, your offense is not going to be as proficient as it was. No. 1 receiver A.J. Green remains entrenched, and tight end Tyler Eifert continues to work his way back into the offense following ankle and back injuries. But Cincinnati misses the presence of receivers Marvin Jones (now with the Lions) and Mohamed Sanu (now with the Falcons), and bringing in a talented wideout like the Chicago Bears' Jeffery could be the type of move that finally puts the Bengals over the top -- or, at least, gets them out of the damn Wild Card Round.
Potential cost: Vontaze Burfict and 2017 third-round pick.
No. The Bengals are not giving up Vontaze Burfict ‘and’ a third-round pick for anything. While Burfict’s stock is pretty low right now, thanks to his sluggish play and player-safety concerns, he’s not being dealt for a player on the final year of his deal like Jeffery, along with a high draft pick.
Now, I think the Bengals may be willing to part with a third-round pick to get a guy like Jeffery, partly because the Bengals should have a lot of picks in next year’s draft thanks to compensatory selections.
And while the Bengals are certainly in position to be a buyer at this year’s trade deadline, they’re also in a spot where they can be sellers as well. Even with their struggles and overall record this season, trading away assets is something that may be a smart play on their part.
The team is slipping a bit but has drafted extremely well for quite a stretch. Cincinnati always seems to have a spare former first-round draft choice at cornerback laying around as well.
Such is the case when it comes to 2014 pick Darqueze Dennard. He’s done little to impress to date but a team like the New Orleans Saints would be willing to gamble and see if he can develop over the next year and a half. And the third-round pick in 2018 seems like a very reasonable price.
ESPN suggested trading Dennard last week, too.
This is an interesting situation that I can get behind ‘if’ the following takes place:
- The Bengals re-sign Dre Kirkpatrick to a long-term deal.
- William Jackson III comes off I.R. this week and plays the rest of the season.
- The Bengals feel good enough with what they’ve seen from KeiVarae Russell, a 2016 third-round pick, that he is a strong enough player to eventually become one of the top 3-4 corners on this team.
That’s asking a lot though, and just hitting two of those three this year is a stretch. Sure, Dennard is struggling, but he’s still a young corner who hasn’t played much to this point in his career.
Then again, if the Bengals can squeeze a third-round pick for him, it may be wise to go ahead and deal him. Josh Shaw has taken over the slot and isn’t letting Dennard have it back.
Kirkpatrick could be re-signed and locked into one of the boundary spots. Adam Jones has the other one locked down with Jackson waiting in the wings.
Maybe trading Dennard now is a wise move, and not one that would necessarily hurt this team in 2016. This would be one of the few ways the Bengals could be sellers at the trade deadline without selling anything that hurts their ability to contend for a playoff spot this year.