The two teams have occasionally exchanged draft picks, and even made a pretty high-profile trade a couple of years back when the Patriots acquired Bengals’ legend Chad Johnson for a couple of late-round draft picks.
So, it should come as no surprise if the two teams are looking over their respective rosters to see if it’s time to pull off another little exchange before the October 31 NFL trade deadline rolls around.
Tops on the list of potential trade candidates for the Bengals should be New England tight end Hunter Henry. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Henry is the quintessential red-zone target, and Cincinnati currently stands No. 18 in red-zone efficiency at just under 54%, according to Team Rankings.
And, with how the Patriots have been playing so far, there really has not been a lot of need for a red-zone tight end. New England had a total of eight red-zone trips through its first five games and got to the promised land just once in games three through five.
So far this season, Henry has caught 18 passes for 183 yards but had just one reception for seven yards against the Raiders on Sunday. He also has two touchdown catches. Henry is in the final year of his contract, and the Patriots may decide to take what they can get for him now.
Tight end should be a strong trade target for the Bengals, given the lack of development of their own starter Irv Smith Jr.
Smith, a former second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, has not proven to be a good fit for Cincinnati and has battled a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Tanner Hudson, Smith’s replacement off the practice squad, has looked good in limited action.
The Bengals, meanwhile, have a couple of other pieces they could offer up in trade. Given the development of Jordan Battle into a starting-caliber safety, Cincinnati may consider putting Nick Scott, a free-agent acquisition over the off-season from the Los Angeles Rams, on the trading block.
In addition, cornerback Jalen Davis may have reached the end of the line in Cincinnati. Right tackle Jonah Williams, who is also in the final year of his contract, might also be up for grabs. Of course, should Cincinnati decide to move Williams, it would probably need to make another move to shore up the right tackle position. But, with former Bengal La’el Collins fully healthy and still unsigned, the answer to that problem might prove to be an easy one.
Despite assurances to the contrary, Perine has not seen much action for the Broncos so far this season. In last Thursday night’s loss to Kansas City, Perine was on the field for just nine of a possible 52 snaps and received just two targets. Through the first six games, he carried the ball only 24 times and had just 20 targets.
Perine should probably never have left Cincinnati in the first place, and the timing might be right to bring him back. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
Another piece New England may be looking to move is 6-foot-3, 250-pound guard Michael Onwenu. In Onwenu’s first three seasons in the league, he earned grades of 84.3, 87.0, and 79.3. Onwenu has excelled at both guard spots and at right tackle during his career, and it is that position flexibility that would make him an excellent choice for the Bengals.
Cincinnati is having plenty of problems with its own left guard, Cordell Volson, and it is probably time for a change. Volson surrendered another sack on Sunday and looked lost on a number of other occasions in pass protection.