Will the Cincinnati Bengals be active at the trade deadline? Only if the price is right.
Sitting at 5-2 with a game against the lowly New York Jets on the horizon, the Bengals are in position to be buyers at the deadline for their playoff push. But don’t let the change in circumstances fool you.
The Bengals sacrificing high draft capital in exchange for veteran players is never a likely scenario. The franchise is only comfortable moving first-round picks is if they get a first-round pick and a player in return, à la the Cordy Glenn deal from 2018, and second-round picks might as well be looked at with similar value.
Recently, they’ve undergone player-for-player swaps more frequently, with Billy Price for B.J. Hill being the latest example. They knew they could get way more out of Hill this year than Price, and they’re being proven right so far.
At last year’s deadline, they received B.J. Finney for a disgruntled Carlos Dunlap, who basically forced his way out of town. They knew they weren’t going to get the appropriate value for him in return, but they didn’t really have a choice. Had Dunlap not made those efforts on his part, he would’ve just been cut at the end of the season.
You get the picture. They don’t conduct trades unless they see a clear surplus in value coming their way, and they’ve always valued draft picks highly. This is something to remember as the deadline nears.
If any players are coming to Cincinnati before Tuesday’s deadline passes, it will be for no more than a Day 3 draft pick, and even that’s a long shot. Here are a few players who could be had for that minimal cost.
Kyle Fuller, CB, Denver Broncos
Fuller’s reunion with his old coordinator Vic Fangio in Denver has not been a successful one. After a rough Week 5 outing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fuller has been benched for other options, but is still accounting for nearly $10 million against the Broncos’ cap. This is Fuller’s last season under the age of 30, so if he wants to contribute for a real contender, this is the time.
Cincinnati has found luck in getting decent play out of Eli Apple this year, but while Trae Waynes remains out, they may be interested in other short-term solutions.
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are a gross mess, and that doesn’t even include their depraved efforts to trade for Deshaun Watson. They made a habit out of being sellers for the long haul, and it’s gotten them nowhere. Still, they need to be thinking about the future. They’re getting great play out of Ogbah right now, but the veteran edge rusher is set to be a free agent next year.
Just because the Bengals are getting Khalid Kareem back doesn’t mean they can’t upgrade over Wyatt Ray and Darius Hodge. Having a strong pass rush for the back half of the season will be critical for sustaining their defensive success.
Derek Barnett, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
That same logic applies to Barnett, who is currently not playing his way into being re-signed by the rebuilding Eagles. The former first-round pick is sack-less and is winning at a low rate against true pass sets. The Eagles can’t expect to get much in return for him, but a change of scenery and scheme could benefit Barnett in the final weeks of his contract season.