The Cincinnati Bengals are going to be making some big-time moves this offseason, and at the crux of their to-do list is bringing in some talent on the offensive line.
The team is prepared to trade, sign, or draft players that’ll improve their line, one that gave up 7 or more sacks in 2 of the team’s 4 postseason games. Burrow took 51 last season, and that’s going to be unacceptable this coming season.
Cincinnati is projected to have the fourth-most cap space and could plan a run at Terron Armstead. The team’s conversations with star safety Jessie Bates III will also play a factor in contract negotiations with pending free agents.
They will be able to make internal cuts that may help increase that projected cap space as well. The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. speculated that cutting Trey Hopkins seems like the smart move for Cincinnati.
“The Bengals would save $6 million against minimal dead money by cutting ties with Hopkins. It’s hard to get past that kind of money after a subpar year, and Hopkins is about to be 30 and coming off a torn ACL. He’s wildly respected, as intelligent as anyone on the team and a part of the leadership. But in an offseason of fresh blood up front, the combination of his cap number, age and performance will likely break the tie on a tough decision. Hopkins could be offered a pay cut to return and compete at center, but that will be up to him.” Dehner Jr. wrote.
Hopkins, as Dehner Jr. noted, is a well-respected player. He’s been crucial for the Bengals over the last several seasons as well, playing in all but three games over the past four years. He started 30 games over the last two seasons.
Hopkins took home just a 51.4 PFF grade. This past season, he allowed 4 sacks and has 4 penalties, tied for 3rd and 20th in the NFL respectively. Hopkins had played both guard and center for Cincinnati in his tenure, so his versatility and intelligence would be missed.
For a team looking to make moves though, the cap space saved by potentially cutting him makes this move too obvious for the Bengals.