The Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of work to do this offseason. From the Joe Burrow extension they want to complete prior to the NFL Draft, plenty of action lies ahead as they try to build the roster and get back to another Super Bowl. On top of that, they have a large crop of free agents that could be playing elsewhere next year.
Staying on that topic, the Bengals very well may lose key contributors when the new league year begins next month. Simply put, there might not be enough money to go around. They are dead set on extending Burrow and will look to do the same with Tee Higgins (regardless of what Twitter tells you). As the front office makes those decisions, some players may take deals with other clubs that are more lucrative than Cincinnati can offer.
With contributors leaving in free agency, compensatory picks are always a possibility. The NFL determines compensatory picks by a number of factors, namely a player’s production and how the team the player leaves chooses to replace them.
Simply put, if Cincinnati were to lose Jessie Bates, Germaine Pratt, Hayden Hurst, and Vonn Bell, who were all major contributors in 2022, they could potentially get one extra fourth-rounder, two fifth-rounders, and a sixth-rounder.
If @PFF_Brad's contract estimations in this article ended up being completely accurate, this chart would indicate how many compensatory free agents each team could lose, and the round of the comp picks they would get if they don't cancel out those losses with signing other CFAs. https://t.co/uq8MSjl51w pic.twitter.com/nndnWRMCjX— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) February 6, 2023
The days of the Bengals letting players walk and settling for the compensatory picks are seemingly over. Duke Tobin and co. have been major players in the last three off-seasons. They may be less active on the outside market as they look to retain some players and extend others, but it would be more of a surprise now than ever if they were to let all four players leave and do nothing on the free agent market.
An interesting off-season looms for the Bengals. After drafting so well in the last handful of years, the time to pay the young talent is approaching, and we will see if all of the financial moves made off the field have set them up to compete with the current contract market. Competing, of course, may require them to pivot off of their stance of not guaranteeing tons of money in contracts.
With the modernization of the Bengals we’ve seen over the last two seasons, it is not out of the question to see them start to play the “cash over cap” game many teams have.