Wilson is entering the third year of his rookie contract and has a cap hit of $1,348,798 for the 2022 season. With 2022 being his third season, Wilson can begin negotiating a contract extension after this season.
In 2021, Wilson was in the middle of a meteoric rise to stardom. Patrolling the middle of the Bengals defense, Wilson’s instincts and ability to find the ball had the league on notice. Early in the season, he led the NFL in interceptions and was on pace for a phenomenal season. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury in Week 13 that was later confirmed to be a torn labrum not only kept him off the field, but limited him upon returning.
Even with playing in a sling, Wilson was arguably the most important Bengal defender in the playoffs. 12 combined tackles in the Wild Card game against the Raiders let us know Wilson was feeling more comfortable, but the following week is when he would become the hero. In the Divisional Round against the Tennessee Titans, Wilson’s ball-hawking paid off yet again. Late in the fourth quarter, the Titans had the ball and were looking to move into range for a game-tying field goal, until Wilson made the play of the game. After a tip by Eli Apple, Wilson hauled in the interception that set the Bengals up for a walk-off field goal.
Wilson also had a good performance in the Super Bowl, logging 8 solo tackles, 3 tackles for loss and a pass defensed. Being tasked to cover the middle of the field against a talented Los Angeles Rams offense, Wilson proved he belonged. Of course, there was the late holding penalty that set up the Rams’ game-winning touchdown. Depending on who you ask, it was either a penalty, or one of the best young linebackers in the game covering arguably the best receiver in the league perfectly.
Outlook for 2022
During the spring workout program, Wilson has spent time on the rehab field, but anticipates to be fully ready to go by training camp. A fully healthy start to the season and another year under his belt should keep Wilson on the upward trajectory we’ve seen in the first two seasons of his career. He will enter the season as the unquestioned best linebacker and depending on the Jessie Bates III situation, Wilson could become the unequivocal leader for the defense as a whole.
99.9% sounds about right. You never say never in the NFL, but it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Bengals sever ties with not only one of their most important defensive players, but one who is yet to enter his prime. Your #55 jerseys are safe to wear this season.