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Tendering restricted free agents will be more costly for Bengals in 2019

Trey Hopkins is in line for a nice payday.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is about to begin, and the Bengals have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks.

One of which will be starting lineman Trey Hopkins, who is set to become a restricted free agent. In past years, tendering a restricted free agent has cost under $2 million. But with the cap rising so much in recent years, tendering Hopkins will be a little most costly in 2019, as NFL reporter Ian Rapoport notes:

Even with the number rising, the Bengals will almost certainly tender Hopkins, who started at guard and center for the Bengals in 2019. He’s also capable of playing offensive tackle, so even if he doesn’t start next season, he’s a valuable backup the Bengals will look to keep this offseason.

The only other Bengals scheduled to become a restricted free agent is tight end Matt Lengel. Ideally, the Bengals would tender him since C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft are all set to hit free agency.

But at $2 million+, it’s unlikely the Bengals tender Lengel, which would allow him to also become a free agent.

Another way this could affect the Bengals is other teams’ restricted free agents not being tendered and thus giving Cincinnati more options.

An example would be the Rams, who currently have cornerback Troy Hill, running back Malcolm Brown, safety Blake Countess and inside linebacker Cory Littleton set to become restricted free agents. If any of them aren’t tendered, one would think Zac Taylor would have interest in them.