It’s been a wonderful contract year for Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt.
A third-round draft pick of the club in 2019, Pratt has elevated his game as a starter in Lou Anarumo’s adaptive defensive scheme. Pro Football Focus graded him out at a career-high 78.4, which is the 10th-best among starting linebackers this year. He forced three turnovers and missed just eight tackles all year.
Pratt’s season will earn him plenty of interest in free agency next month, but despite comments made earlier in the year about not playing on third down enough and clear frustration regarding the end of the AFC Championship, the 26-year-old linebacker made it clear he’s more than open to returning for a second contract with the team.
“Absolutely I want to be back,” Pratt told The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. after the AFC title game. “But if they don’t want me back, then…”
There’s a sentiment that the Bengals are set to move on from Pratt. They’ve developed linebackers underneath him on the depth chart in Akeem Davis-Gaither and Markus Bailey, and fellow Logan Wilson is a possible extension candidate. The contingencies are in place for the defense, but it’s at least possible a deal is offered from the Bengals’ end.
The day after the game, Pratt explained that he wants to play for a championship competitor, and how the Bengals have showcased that in the last two years.
Germaine Pratt says he felt badly for comments criticizing Joseph Ossai. Says he wants to play for a Super Bowl winner and Bengals give him that shot. pic.twitter.com/1JiSPCCEHr— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 30, 2023
But money speaks louder than anything.
Pratt will get offers if he tests the market this March, and if they come with greater opportunity attached, his time in Cincinnati will likely come to an end.
LB— Germaine Pratt (@GermainePratt7) February 3, 2023