The perception of the Bengals right now is not a pretty one. Being 0-4 with an aging core and an inexperienced coaching staff, a lack of external optimism should be expected.
Does that mean the Bengals have nothing to offer for the rest of the NFL? Apparently not.
Per Jason La Canfora of cbssports.com, several GMs from around the league believe that Cincinnati could unload some of their veteran players for a substantial haul of draft picks. The issue lies in their willingness to do so.
“If they wanted to, and they did this right, they could be right there with the Dolphins and Raiders when it comes to 1, 2, and 3s in the next few drafts,” one GM said of a potential Bengals rebuild.
”We’ve gone over the roster and the contracts,” another GM said. “It is begging for trades, but I’m not sure they’ll seriously consider it. That’s not how Mike Brown operates.”
The top-asset the Bengals have to offer is of course A.J. Green, who is in the midst of a contract year and is slated to be a free agent in 2020. Despite that reality, the GMs La Canfora spoke to believe that Green would net a first-round pick when he returns to the field healthy. The Saints and Patriots are the two teams listed as buyers in the receiver market, as they “would have interest” in Tyler Eifert as well.
Aside from Green, Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and even Andy Dalton are tabbed as potential pieces with trade value. Atkins and Dunlap are both under contract for a few more years, but most—if not all—of their guaranteed money has already been paid for by the Bengals, making their contracts attractive to other teams. Dalton has just one year left on his deal and no dead money attached to it, making his market slightly larger.
We’ve seen the Miami Dolphins unload some of their top players for draft capital this season, and if they wanted to, the Bengals could also receive substantial assets to essentially kickstart a future rebuild of their own. But as always, it’s none other than the Bengals themselves who have to get out of their own way to make this happen.