A few weeks back, there was some some buzz over the idea of the Bengals trading A.J. Green for Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. While it would bold for both teams to pull this off, it makes little sense from the Bengals’ perspective.
Cincinnati has a wealth of talent at cornerback and young depth as well. They have high-quality assets at the top of the receiver depth chart, but things get dicey pretty quickly after that. Peterson would certainly be an upgrade, but the move would leave the receiver position in dire straights.
There are a couple of blockbuster moves the Bengals could attempt that would make more sense — the biggest obstacle in the way is money, of course. The top players who are available for trade are looking for big new contracts. That is not exactly what the Bengals are looking for in a year when they need to re-sign Green and Tyler Boyd.
Still, it is worth discussing two players the Bengals should try to make a deal for.
Williams wants out of Washington and has said that it is not all about money. This may not be an out-and-out lie, but odds are that it is at least a little bit about money.
The seven-time pro bowler is under contract for two more years, which would give the Bengals a little more time to figure things out. He is currently owed an average of about $12 million over those two years which is roughly what Cordy Glenn is getting paid in Cincinnati. Of course, when he signs a new contract, he will be looking for something around the $17 million range, which would just reset the left tackle market.
This is fair because Williams is one of the top tackles in the league. With the news of Jonah Williams’ injury, the Bengals need at offensive tackle has become desperate. Perhaps a deal could be worked out involving Glenn. Cap hits aside, this would even out the yearly cash flow. If they feel he is becoming a distraction the Redskins may be willing to give him up for less than his value, just to get him out of town.
Perhaps the Redskins would like to get rid of him but are wondering “who will play tackle, who”? The expert of answering this question is of course Bengals VP Troy Blackburn and that answer is none other than Bobby Hart.
Sending Hart and a mid-round pick to Washington form Williams would be an incredible move for the Bengals if the Redskins are desperate enough to oblige. Does that level of desperation even exist, though?
Despite their dead last passing defense rank last season, Cincinnati’s defensive backs were not crux of the problem. Wagner is one of — if not the best — coverage linebacker in the NFL, which is exactly what the Bengals lack.
Wagner becomes a free agent at the end of the season. After playing hardball (and losing) with Earl Thomas last year, the Seahawks may be willing to make a deal to make sure they get something in return for Wagner.
People don’t have much faith in the Bengals, so their future draft picks probably carry some value. Their second-round pick would project to most as top-40, which could easily be enough to pry Wagner out of Seattle. And even if it takes a first-round pick, are the Bengals really going to be able to do better than Wagner with their first pick next year?
Wagner has stated that C.J. Mosley’s contract is the standard he is looking for. This means he is looking for roughly $17 million per year. That is more than any player on the Bengals roster. In fact, it is more than Preston Brown’s entire 3-year contract.
Is it possible? Yes. But would the Bengals be willing to make that type of investment?
In the words of Ozzie Osbourne, “I’m just a dreamer.”
The Bengals trading for Glenn a year ago was a pretty big shock and these trades would be even more shocking. Trading for Wagner would be a huge investment in that position, but would completely change their defense. A deal for Williams wouldn’t be crazy financially, but after investing a first-round pick in another tackle named Williams, it is unlikely they take such a big swing.
To paraphrase Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused, “It’d be a lot cooler if they did.”