The Cincinnati Bengals are very far ahead of schedule to the point that the rest of the NFL should be very worried. Not only has Joe Burrow already led the Bengals to the playoffs off an offseason spent rehabbing a serious knee injury, but Cincinnati is set to retain key players and add even more. They are set to have the most cap space among any playoff team.
1. Bengals- $48.7M— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) January 10, 2022
2. Steelers- $38.2M
3. Raiders- $30.9M
4. Patriots- $21.0M
5. Bucs- $16.8M
6. Eagles- $14.1M
7. Chiefs- $14.1M
8. Cardinals- $9.8M
9. Bills- $1.4M
10. Titans- $400K
11. 49ers- ($620K)
12. Rams- ($2.3M)
13. Cowboys- ($19.6M)
14. Packers- ($45.4M) https://t.co/aR9yAam2VA
That is quite a bit of space for this team, and according to Over the Cap, Cincinnati will have $65,876,651 in cap space if they were to cut Trae Waynes this offseason.
Now before everyone goes looking at the biggest name free agents, there is the matter of this team having some players that will need paid this offseason like safety Jessie Bates, offensive guard Quinton Spain, cornerback Eli Apple defensive tackles Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill as well as tight end C.J. Uzomah. Those are just the guys who are playing major snaps for this team right now as well.
Most of those players will likely be returning, so that will soak up quite a bit of cap space, but there should be plenty of room to potentially add some more veteran offensive linemen or just impact players on either side of the ball.
Even with this team spending the last two offseasons you shouldn’t expect them to go after some of the top guys in free agency. Their biggest splashes have been Trey Hendrickson and D.J. Reader who were big names, but not some of the guys who were at the top of peoples’ wish lists. They have been very tactical with their spending and have hit quite a few home runs with guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton replacing William Jackson.
The focus obviously has to be on bringing in as much competition along the offensive line to make sure Burrow actually has time to make plays with this young core. They have shown when they can protect the former Heisman winner that he can make some incredible things happen. Heck, he has shown he can do that on plays he isn’t protected. They have young guys who have shown some promise, but it is clear that if this offensive line was better now there would be very little doubt of them being a favorite for as long as Burrow is on his rookie contract.