Every year, there are players for the Bengals who are playing their final season with the team, and a lot of times, fans don’t know until they’re gone.
It is always best to appreciate the players when they are here, especially the ones that feel like they will be here forever, as those departures often feel the most shocking. The Bengals will definitely be in an intriguing position after the 2019 season with an aging quarterback and a staff with the first chance to have a full offseason to go after their vision. Who they decide to keep after the season will be incredibly telling about how they view the immediate future of the team.
So, enjoy the players on the team now as you never know when the last time you see them in stripes will be.
Let’s take a loo at five of the biggest name players who could be gone after 2019.
1. A.J. Green
This seems unlikely, and understandably so, as when A.J. Green is healthy, he is still one of the leagues top wideouts. However, he has struggled with health and that generally doesn’t get any better as players get into their 30s. This is also one of the main signings that could indicate how the new regime feels about the team. Keeping Green around means they believe in the current teams ability to succeed or in a quick turnaround. Of course, there is also the possibility that after the season Green could want out to go chase a ring, and I don’t think anyone would really blame him, especially with Tyler Boyd blocking the potential move to the slot so many older wide receivers end up doing. The latest ankle injury that will likely cost Green multiple regular-season games makes this situation even murkier.
2. Tyler Eifert
It almost feels inevitable at this point that this will be the last year Eifert plays for the Bengals, but it seemed the same last year. It will be very dependent on how he plays and the value he generates. A big year, and another team will likely sign him and give the Bengals a decent compensatory pick. Another injury-riddled year, and it will be tough for him to find many teams willing to sign him. That is if he didn’t want to retire sometime soon with his lengthy injury history. If he can stay healthy though, Eifert can definitely help the Bengals.
3. Giovani Bernard
Joe Mixon is, at minimum, the Bengals’ bell cow for the next two years or so, and Bernard has not been seeing much usage. Add on top of that the two backs taken in the draft who both have a lot of talent, and this seems like the last year Bernard will be with the Bengals. Unless he really evolves his role on special teams or takes a smaller deal and has no other suitors, it doesn’t seem likely Bernard is on the Bengals in 2019, which is a bummer, as he is a fan favorite.
4. Darqueze Dennard
The decision to re-sign him in the past offseason was already a mystifying one, as his play has never reached the quality expected of his draft status, and his injury history was concerning. On top of that, both Tony McRae and Darius Phillips did not show much of a decrease in play at slot corner when filling in. More growth and playtime from one of those two would easily lead to Dennard being allowed to walk and given more opportunity elsewhere.
5. Andrew Billings
Billings was injured his rookie year and then was clearly still affected by said injury in his second year. It wasn’t until 2018 that the team finally saw the player that they drafted from Baylor. He was much improved and is still young. If he can continue to grow and show some pass-rush ability, then it would be foolish for the Bengals to not bring him back. However, if he still functions mostly as a run-stuffer, then there many could be better spent elsewhere. Billings’ price tag entirely depends on his 2019 play. Ideally, he would play well enough to be brought back, especially since an elite running mate would help free up Geno Atkins for more one on ones.