The Cincinnati Bengals are not only one of the more intriguing young teams in the NFL. They also will have the most cap space of any playoff team in 2022.
Now, that number looks like it will be a little bigger with them declaring the eighth most unused cap space in 2021 to rollover.
NFL teams recently declared unused 2021 cap space rollover amounts (below).— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 17, 2022
After the playoffs, the NFL will audit incentives, bonuses, etc by team. That figure will be added/subtracted to the number below.
The sum + the 2022 Salary Cap = each team's 2022 adjusted cap number. pic.twitter.com/BMThnJyLpa
That $5.292 million may not seem like a lot when there are teams with over $10 million getting rolled over. However, it looks like Cincinnati will have roughly $58 million in cap space when the rollover gets added, according to Spotrac. That number is also prior to the Bengals cutting cornerback Trae Waynes who has struggled to stay on the field since being signed before the 2020 season. That move would open up $11 million more in cap space.
Even if Cincinnati doesn’t use up all of the cap, they will still have plenty of space to make some moves. The most crucial thing is keeping key players in the building like safety Jessie Bates. They will also have a number of players coming off of prove it deals like cornerback Eli Apple and offensive guard Quinton Spain. Not to mention other players who have grown into bigger roles this year like wide receiver Stanley Morgan, defensive tackles B.J. Hill, Josh Tupou and cornerback Tre Flowers.
The Bengals can then start adding free agents to fill needs or upgrade positions after making some decisions on those players. The best thing they could do for this young team is fill out the roster’s needs via free agency. Then they can go into the draft able to go best-player available without having to worry about entering 2022 with holes on their roster again.
This team has proved they are willing to spend the last two offseasons. They will have the ability to do so again this year. If they hit on free agents like the past two seasons they should be AFC favorites for a few years with Joe Burrow still on a rookie contract.