The Cincinnati Bengals spent the last two offseason in free agency, making DJ Reader the highest-paid nose tackle in 2020 while also adding safety Vonn Bell. They then signed defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who had a monster year for Cincinnati in 2021.
Don’t let that convince you that the Bengals have been spending without purpose though.
The real improvement for Cincinnati has come via the NFL Draft, not free agency. Players like Tyler Boyd, Sam Hubbard, Jessie Bates III, Jonah Williams and Germaine Pratt all started this movement prior to the Joe Burrow years.
Then in 2020, the Bengals took their drafting to the next level, adding Burrow, Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson in the first three rounds. All played large roles in getting Cincinnati to the Super Bowl. This past season,
The Bengals added Even McPherson and Ja’Marr Chase among several other impactful prospects. Couple their recently draft picks with the money they’ve spent as of late in free agency, and the Bengals are set for another solid season.
As they move into the new season and with several contracts to think about on the horizon, namely Bates III’s new deal, the Bengals will be in a great position from a cap standpoint.
They ranked No. 1 per Pro Football Focus in cap health. PFF’s salary cap analyst went into detail on how they got to the cap health rank as well, factoring in a myriad of future numbers.
Five categories:— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) May 17, 2022
1. Active Draft Capital (how many rookie contract players you have and where they were selected)
2. 2022-24 Effective Cap space
3. Total Prorated money (want to be low)
4. Top 51 roster valuation (Browns #1)
5. 2023 UFA valuation (want to be low)
The Bengals have low money prorated and low UFA valuation daily because of their immense success in the draft. It cannot be said enough how quality of a job Duke Tobin and the team’s scouting department have done.
Cincinnati high-level success began in 2021, but it certainly looks like it’ll stretch into the foreseeable future.