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Bengals Mailbag: To trade or not to trade

Our CJ readers and OBI listeners had a lot of questions regarding trades, the direction of the Bengals franchise and more this week.

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The Cincinnati Bengals are “across the pond”, getting set to take on the Los Angeles Rams in London. The matchup had quite a bit of luster this offseason, given Cincinnati’s hiring of former Rams assistant, Zac Taylor, but the opinions on the contest have changed, given the Bengals’ 0-7 start to the season.

Predictably, with the depressing start of the Taylor era, a number of questions surround the team. And, even more predictable is that many of them centered around the quarterback and what the team will do in the draft next year.

Part of what will impact their 2020 draft plans is how many picks they will have in their arsenal and at what positioning. As things are playing out, Cincinnati looks to have one of the top overall picks, given their terrible record, but trades could net them more high selections.

A.J. Green is the player who has had the most rumors regarding trades and, given the recent NFL landscape, it appears that Cincinnati could net at least one first-round pick in a deal. After all, former Bengals and Falcons receiver, Mohamed Sanu, was shipped to New England for a second-round selection.

However, complicating a potential trade is the fact that two of the most logical partners—the Patriots and 49ers—have made deals for other receivers already. Other teams have and likely will come calling before Tuesday’s deadline, but it’s very possible that the Mike Brown we all know has already shot down offers.

Still, that doesn’t definitively mean a trade won’t happen, but rather that it’s going to take a blockbuster deal for Brown to budge. After all, the patriarch was dead-set on letting Carson Palmer retire until Hue Jackson and the Raiders offered a ridiculous deal.

Aside from the potential haul the Bengals could get for various players, there is a more important question lingering in the background. Namely, what is the long-term plan with guys like Green, Tyler Eifert and other players whose names have surfaced in the 0-7 start?

Those plans should, at least in part, dictate the willingness to deal the players and for what yields. We’re not sure about the Bengals’ plans after this disaster of a transitional year, and the unfortunate truth is that foresight hasn’t seemed to be a franchise strength over the years.

The Bengals prefer to be a reactionary team rather than a proactive one, as evidenced by their annual slumbers in free agency and preference to let draft chips fall where they may, akin to a game of “Plinko”. If the long-term plan is to load up on draft picks to replenish the roster with younger, cheaper talent, then deal the guys. If they want to hang on to these players, there had better be a solid plan in place for 2020 and beyond.

Specifically speaking of Green and the idea of keeping him, that’s great, but the team must ensure he’ll be healthy and effective as he will be 32 years old next season. If the plan is to use him, Tyler Boyd and a potentially-revamped offensive line (again) to prop up a new signal-caller, great, but commit to the plan and make sure its blueprint is comprehensive.

What are we getting at, exactly? The worst thing the Bengals could do, in the case of Green, is hang on to him for the rest of this year (which has essentially been wasted with his injury) and then see him go elsewhere in 2020 free agency. This scenario would set the team back even further in this rebuild project.

Also on this week’s listener questions episode:

  • Who are some guys the Bengals shouldn’t think about trading before the deadline?
  • Don’t discount this coming year’s promising college quarterbacks simply because their school hasn’t had success at producing NFL-quality starters.
  • Does drafting a left-handed quarterback like Tua Tagovailoa force the Bengals to reassess the right tackle spot?
  • When and in which scenarios could the Bengals turn to giving Ryan Finley and/or Jake Dolegala snaps at quarterback?
  • Are there any quarterbacks who could be largely successful behind Cincinnati’s patchwork offensive line?

All this and more! You can submit your questions to us a number of ways: via Twitter @BengalsOBI, by email at, or in the comment thread below. We also take calls/texts at (949) 542-6241 and will scour the chat feeds on YouTube and of the Cincy Jungle Facebook live video when we record.

Thanks for tuning in and for listening!

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