The Cincinnati Bengals have an interesting off-season ahead and it will begin in less than a month, as the new NFL league year will start on March 15th. With a likely massive Joe Burrow contract extension on the horizon, coupled with (hopefully) retaining players like Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson and Vonn Bell, much has been made about what the Bengals can do to keep the guys in the building around for the next handful of years.
This is a good problem to have, as the players Duke Tobin and company have drafted have emerged as core pieces of a team that has made deep playoff runs in each of the last two seasons.
With that being said, the Bengals will still look outside of the building for help. While they may not focus on the big-ticket, top-level free agents, you can expect them to look for players looking to play for a contender and potentially play on a “prove it” deal. That would not only allow the player a chance to win, but a chance to cash in on free agency in 2024 if their season goes well enough.
This is why pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue is pegged as a perfect fit for the Bengals, according to ESPN’s Matt Bowen:
“Ngakoue led the Colts with 9.5 sacks last season, and he has totaled 65 over eight NFL seasons. There will be a market for Ngakoue, but finding the right team fit and situation is tough, given that he will be targeted as a sub-package player. The Bengals feature a defense that produced only 30 sacks in 2022 (29th in the NFL), and a short-term deal makes sense, allowing them to slot Ngakoue as their nickel pass-rusher. He shows good burst and an ability to bend around offensive tackles.”
This is a deal that could make a lot of sense for both sides. Ngakoue can be a phenomenal rotational piece to a Bengals pass rush that struggled to get to the quarterback last season. Lou Anarumo’s unit still got plenty of pressure, but didn’t finish the job at a clip they certainly wanted to.
When Trey Hendrickson went down with a broken wrist, it became obvious that the depth of the pass rush needs attention this spring. With Ngakoue not expected to have a big market, a one-year deal with low salary and high-performance bonuses could make sense for both sides.
Would you be interested in Ngakoue in Cincinnati? Let us know in the comments!