It is no secret the Bengals have a ton of young receivers. They have guys like John Ross, Tyler Boyd, Josh Malone, Auden Tate, Cody Core, Ka’Raun White, Kermit Whitfield and Alex Erickson all on the depth chart behind veterans like A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell.
It is probably the position at which the Bengals have the most young depth. When you also consider the fact the team has Green as the No. 1 guy, it starts getting harder to envision all of these players making the Bengals roster. Simply put, they can’t and won’t and instead of just cutting a good, young player, the Bengals could look to get something in exchange for one of them.
Most of these guys are easily talented enough to stick on NFL rosters, but some will have a hard time finding a place in Cincinnati. This is where trades before the season come in. It is pretty common for a team to trade away a player they don’t expect to make the team anyway in exchange for a late-round draft pick.
Very rarely will these picks ever end up being higher than a sixth rounder. In fact, sometimes teams trade conditional draft picks based on a player being active for a certain amount of games. We saw this with the Bengals last season when they traded cornerback Bene Benwikere to the Cowboys before the final cuts.
The Bengals have also done this with players like linebacker Marquis Flowers to the Patriots, and they have even received players this way like last year when they traded for defensive end Chris Smith. The Bengals are very good at watching other teams’ rosters, and knowing how to get something for essentially nothing.
The wide receiver the Bengals may look to trade may depend on the offers they get, but most likely it would be whoever loses out on the competition in Cincinnati, if there’s a trade at all. Let's explore which teams could be in need of a young receiver this season.
The Bills and Bengals could keep their bromance going with a trade for one of the Bengals’ receivers. The Bills could use some depth at that position as after Kelvin Benjamin they are really relying a lot on Zay Jones, who had an up-and-down rookie season. They have a number of aging veteran players as well, but the idea of injecting some youth into the position could be too good to pass up.
A trade partner for the Bengals last year, the Cowboys’ receiving group is questionable after the team released Dez Bryant earlier this offseason. Allen Hurns leads off the group along with rookie Michael Gallup and veteran Cole Beasley. There’s a lot of uncertainty and youth already there, but one of the Bengals’ more reliable young receivers could be a good addition for the Cowboys come September.
New England Patriots
This is less of a need for the Patriots, but both teams have been pretty open about their willingness to deal with each other. As previously mentioned, the Bengals sent Flowers there last offseason. They also dumped Chad Johnson off their way back when, in a deal that netted them Marvin Jones in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Not to mention, the Patriots are always aggressive about taking on low risk deals where they don’t spend that much to get a player. A young pass-catcher such as Alex Erickson or even Cody Core could draw a conditional late round pick from the Patriots. The Patriots are really in need of a receiver as Julian Edelman will be suspended for the first four games of the season. Hey, maybe they’d even want LaFell back in New England.
The Jaguars don’t throw the ball a lot, but they still need that threat to keep Leonard Fournette productive on the ground. Jacksonville lost Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns in free agency, and they didn’t do much to replace them. If the rest of the Jaguars’ receivers fail to impress during training camp and the preseason they could look to add a new face. Considering the two teams have already established a trading relationship, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Bengals return the favor for Smith last season.
The Giants need to bounce back this season if they are determined to ride out the last of Eli Manning’s career. Of course, they have Odell Beckham Jr., but after their initial starting receivers, there are some major doubts about the caliber of receivers they possess. Their big move was to bring in Cody Latimer from Denver. He has never caught more than 20 passes in a season. The easiest way to add some depth to the position is to take on one of the Bengals’ castoffs.