The Cincinnati Bengals could look drastically different in 2021. They have several players hitting the open market including defensive end Carl Lawson, cornerback William Jackson III, and wide receiver AJ Green.
The team is looking to bring back at least a couple of those players.
“Those are two guys we think highly of, and we want them to be Bengals for certain,” Taylor said when talking with The Athletic’s Jay Morrison about the team’s two top defensive free agents, Lawson and Jackson III.
Lawson had a breakout season in 2020, despite his numbers not truly reflecting his value.
Lawson has just 5.5 sacks and 36 combined tackles which, for a player that was in 16 games and totaled 11 starts, isn’t overly impressive, but Lawson certainly made a difference. He ranked top ten in the NFL in sacks created.
He’ll be looking at a big payday as the 25-year-old seems to have a promosing future in the Queen City.
He won’t be the only one on the team’s defense that will be expecting to be paid this offseason as Jackson, a top-35 free agent, will be looking for his first contract after being a first-round draft pick in 2016.
Jackson ended the season with 45 tackles, 1 interception and a 11 passes defended. Having a main role in the team’s secondary, Jackson ended the season playing over 90 percent in every game except for Week 17.
That said, Taylor isn’t expecting to have to pick between the star defenders.
“Yeah. I think you have to look at the whole scope of things and hopefully, we can work it all out,” Taylor continued with.
According to Over The Cap, the Bengals will enter with the sixth-most cap space in the league, so if they’re will to make some moves, pulling off the signing of both top-tier defenders is far from impossible.