As the Bengals continue cutting their roster down to 53 players, they made a trade Friday to bolster their interior defensive line depth.
It came in the form of defensive tackle Christian Covington, who the team acquired in a trade with the Broncos. In return, Cincinnati sent backup linebacker Austin Calitro to Denver. No picks were swapped.
There’s actually a Bengals connection with Covington in the form of D.J. Reader, as the two played together with the Texans for three seasons from 2016-18. In what was a 3-4 defense, Reader was the starting nose tackle, while Covington was the starting right defensive end.
Ironically, the 6-2, 305-pound Covington now figures to be the backup behind Reader in Cincinnati’s 4-3 defense, while Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels will play most of the snaps at the other defensive tackle spot.
As for Calitro, he had a real chance at making the 53-man roster as a backup linebacker and special teams contributor and may have even seen significant snaps on defense. After all, the Bengals don’t exactly have much experience in the linebacker room outside of Josh Bynes and Jordan Evans.
However, Calitro left a lot to be desired as an actual defensive player, as he finished 2019 with a 44.7 Pro Football Focus grade with the Jaguars. That would have been one of the worst grades on a Bengals defense that had a lot of bad PFF grades last year.
Speaking of, Covington finished 2019 with a solid 65.7 grade, which would have actually been one of better marks in Cincinnati’s defense. He’s also making just $1.5 million this year before hitting free agency next offseason.
Overall, this feels like a really good move to get another solid veteran and more depth in the middle of Cincinnati’s defense. But what do you think of the move? Let us know in the poll below and in the comments section!
Do you approve of the Austin Calitro-Christian Covington trade?
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