clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

5 players the Bengals could look to trade away in 2018

New, comments

The Bengals don’t often make trades, but in a season that seems to have “win-now” urgency, could the team look to make some moves?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A lot that can happen between now and the start of the NFL season and even more will happen between now and the NFL trade deadline, which is October 30 at 4 p.m. Several players have already suffered season-ending injuries or run into legal trouble, and Week 1 is still months away. As we get closer to the 2018 NFL season, there may be a free agent signing who isn’t fitting in with his new team in the way they had hoped. Teams may suffer a rash of injuries or suspensions. And the NFL will look even more different in Week 9. As the season inches get closer, or once it gets underway, will the Bengals be interested in entering trade talks?

The Bengals have not been very active in the trade market in recent years, unless you count that time that the Browns tried to acquire AJ McCarron. They traded draft picks with the Chiefs in the offseason; they also traded away Marquis Flowers and Bene Benwikere (two players who they were going to cut) for conditional draft picks last preseason. But they almost never trade during the season.

But anything can happen and if you believe the team is in win-now mode, a trade could be more likely. Here are five players on the current roster who could, for the right price, find a new home in 2018.

Vincent Rey

In the absence of pretty much every linebacker last year, Vincent Rey proved how valuable he can be as a backup and spot-starter. Rey can play all three linebacker positions, making him a great trade target for a team looking to add a veteran presence to the position.

Vontaze Burfict is suspended for the first four games of the season (again), which will free up a roster spot for a linebacker. Reports say that Chris Worley is being considered for the opening, which would be a great way for the undrafted free agent to break into the NFL. But when Burfict returns, the Bengals will have to figure out what to do with Worley or whoever it is they have filling in. Not to mention, the linebacker position is bursting at the seams with youngsters. Second year linebacker Jordan Evans will look to get more playing time, and rookie Malik Jefferson will be chomping at the bit as well. Trading Rey would be an opportunity to free up a spot while gaining something in return.

Rey is playing out the final year of his contract in 2018, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent. Instead of letting him walk out the door, the Bengals could try to get something for him this year. First, the young guys need to prove themselves this summer.

Cedric Ogbuehi

Its hard to imagine a team would want Cedric Ogbuehi enough to trade for him, but you never know. Reports from camp say that he is “in the mix” to start at right tackle this year and that he’s been impressing during practices. If new offensive line coach Frank Pollack can get through to him, he may be a surprising trade candidate for a team with a struggling offensive line or a nasty injury streak.

The Bengals have lost so much faith in him that the team declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract—and this is coming from a team that had no qualms about starting Russell Bodine for four years and wanted to re-sign him in free agency. If the Bengals can get something from Ogbuehi in the way of trade capital, it will be more than they got from him in terms of production through his first three seasons.

Brandon LaFell

The Bengals could save $4 million by getting Brandon LaFell’s contract off the books. With just one year left on his current deal, the Bengals might want to get something in exchange for him before he walks out of Cincinnati.

There are several teams needing a boost in their wide receiver corps, so the veteran’s service might be needed outside the Queen City. Not to mention, the Bengals’ receiver corps is loading with young players. It will be difficult to get John Ross, Tyler Boyd, Josh Malone, and maybe even Auden Tate enough touches with LaFell sticking around. Negotiating a trade for him might be in the Bengals’ interests. Again, this is pending the young guys showing up and impressing this summer.

Darqueze Dennard

If the Bengals wanted extra draft picks, or even a high-quality player, Darqueze Dennard might be the best trading chip they have.

Despite being a former first round draft pick, Dennard has not been able to find much playing time in Cincinnati. He struggled with injuries in his first couple years in the NFL and has had to cede playing time to Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick. Now William Jackson is looking to lock down the starting cornerback spot opposite Kirkpatrick, relegating Dennard to the slot once again. Instead of watching Dennard become the No. 3 cornerback on the team, the Bengals could try to deal him for some serious acquisition.

Josh Shaw would presumably pick up the nickel spot, but it would also allow rookies Davontae Harris and Darius Phillips to get more playing time. Not to mention, the Bengals are paying $9.6 million for Kirkpatrick and will have to shell out more money in 2019 to keep Jackson around. Paying $8.5 million for a nickel corner might be a little excessive, so if another team wants a cornerback who can start right away, Dennard will be worth their while.

Chris Baker

Yes, Chris Baker only just got here, but the Bengals could save some cash and acquire extra draft picks by dealing the veteran pass rusher if the team feels comfortable with rookie Sam Hubbard.

Baker signed a one-year contract with the Bengals, so the Bengals could sell him off to a team desperate for an interior defensive lineman. Baker has some young guns breathing down his neck and is a new player in a new defensive coordinator’s system. This may be another case of new free agents not working out in a new scheme. If Baker underperforms early on in the season, the Bengals could send him out the door in exchange for some draft picks. This isn’t likely, but possible.