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Beane’s Comments Don’t Show Whole Picture

Sucking bad enough to get Burrow and Chase isn’t exactly why the Bengals are where they are.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

“....they had some lean years and without getting too much into their build, I don’t want to suck bad enough to have to get Ja’Marr Chase.”

I’m sure you’ve heard about this comment from Brandon Beane, the general manager of the Buffalo Bills after the Bengals dismantled his team on their home field last Sunday by a score of 27-10. He basically meant that the Bengals are in a good spot right now considering both Chase and Joe Burrow are on their rookie contracts giving the Bengals the ability to go out and sign free agents. He’s right. He’s also wrong, and here’s why.

Von Miller, Terron Armstead, and J.C. Jackson.

Over the last two seasons, the Bengals needed to sign an edge rusher after losing Carl Lawson, an offensive lineman to help protect Burrow, and a cornerback to shore up the secondary. I think had they signed Miller, Armstead, or Jackson, Bengals fans would have been ecstatic. Instead, Miller went to Buffalo, Armstead to the Dolphins, and Jackson to the Chargers. Let’s take a look at their contracts.

Miller was signed to a six-year, $120 million contract with just over $51.4 million guaranteed. Armstead signed a five-year, $75 million contract with just over $43.3 million guaranteed. Jackson signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with $40 million guaranteed.

Altogether that’s $277.5 million with a little over $134.7 million guaranteed. Obviously, not a single team could sign all three of those guys to those ridiculously huge contracts. If they did, that team would have those three players and just those three players, but Beane did sign Miller, a 33-year-old edge rusher for more guaranteed money than anyone on the Bengals roster.

Beane was right about the Bengals being fortunate enough to have Burrow and Chase on rookie contracts. They’re cheap, for right now, and the Bills have had to pay both Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs big money. The Bengals will feel their pain soon as Burrow is able to negotiate an extension this offseason and Chase next season.

But the Bengals have been smart, and have prepared for Burrow’s big payday, and hopefully, they’ll have the cap room left for Chase, Tee Higgins, and others as well.

Here’s what the Bengals did instead of shelling out enough cash to fill Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool.

Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, D.J. Reader, Mike Hilton, Von Bell, Chidobe Awuzie, Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and La’el Collins.

The Bengals signed those nine players, who we can all agree have been essential to the team playing in their second consecutive conference championship game, for less money than Miller, Armstead, and Jackson were signed for. By a ton.

Let’s break it down.

  • Hendrickson: four years, $60 million with $16 million guaranteed.
  • Hill: three years, $30 million with $13 million guaranteed
  • Reader: four years, $53 million with $20.25 million guaranteed
  • Hilton: four years, $24 million with $6 million guaranteed
  • Bell: three years, $18 million with $3 million guaranteed
  • Awuzie: three years, $21.75 million with $7.5 million guaranteed
  • Cappa: four years, $35 million with $11 million guaranteed
  • Karras: three years, $18 million with $5 million guaranteed
  • Collins: three years, $21 million with $5 million guaranteed

All in all, that’s $280.75 million but with only $86.75 million guaranteed, compared to the $134.7 million guaranteed for just three players.

I’m not saying the Bengals are cheap because they’re not. They used to be, but they’re not now. What I’m saying is the Bengals have been smart. They signed guys for less money that have gotten the job done in preparation for the contracts they’re going to have to shell out for Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Logan Wilson, among others. They’re not just trying to be a flash in the pan, they’re trying to build a sustainable roster with guys who are going to help take them where they want to go.

This is one of the reasons they are where they are. Would you rather have Miller or Hendrickson, Hill, and Reader? Would you rather have Jackson or Hilton, Bell, and Awuzie? And would you rather have Armstead or Cappa, Karras, and Collins? I think those are easy questions to answer.

So when Beane said he didn’t want to suck bad enough to have Burrow and Chase, maybe he should have thought about how much money he’s paying free agents and if having a future hall-of-fame edge rusher is better than having a very good edge rusher, a great nose tackle and a hell of an interior pass rusher.

Oh, and one more thing. Do you know what else Miller, Armstead, and Jackson have in common, other than they have more money than the Monopoly Man? They’ll be watching the Bengals play in the AFC Championship this Sunday from their homes.

Now, enough about that. On to the Chiefs.

Who Dey!