The Cincinnati Bengals have broken the old narrative of them being “cheap” in the off-season over the last three years, but value is still very important to them. As the NFL transitions in to fully-guaranteed contracts, the Bengals still work to minimize guarantees and risk associated to contracts. With the transition we see in contract language, it will be interesting to see how they adapt.
Brad Spielberger at Pro Football Focus recently released his ranking of the top 32 NFL contracts and the Bengals not only made the list, but they cracked the Top 10 with Trey Hendrickson’s contract. Hendrickson was a key factor in a Bengals defense that carried them through the playoffs and Spielberger seems to really like the value in his deal.
Hendrickson is on a remarkable run over the past two seasons, first in his contract year with the New Orleans Saints and last season in leading the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense to a Super Bowl appearance. Hendrickson’s 124 total quarterback pressures over that span rank seventh, his 27.5 sacks rank third and his 16.3% pressure percentage ranks second. He has evolved into one of the NFL’s most consistently elite pass rushers, breaking the Bengals single-season sack record in his first year with the team and recording at least a half-sack in 11 straight contests.
Hendrickson’s deal was more than fair when signed, but he’s an example of a player who has quickly outplayed his contract. For the time being, he’s providing one heck of a bargain on this Cincinnati defensive front.
When Hendrickson was signed in the off-season of 2021, the team was essentially choosing between him and former Bengal Carl Lawson. Lawson went on to get a deal with more guaranteed money than the Bengals offered with the New York Jets, leading the Bengals to move quickly on Hendrickson.
It’s safe to say the Bengals are thrilled with the way it played out as Hendrickson helped them reach the Super Bowl.