Expect the Bengals to be highly active around the NFL trade deadline this year, unless of course they get off to a hot start to the season. Cincinnati actually being good this season is not entirely out of the question as they are tied for having the second easiest schedule in the league and they have a new coaching staff that should provide a jolt of fresh energy.
The glass half empty crowd, however, will point out that the Bengals will be battling in one of the most difficult divisions in all of football. The Browns, Steelers and Ravens all have playoff aspirations in 2019.
So, let’s say things go south.
If the Bengals are, say, 2-6 through eight games played you had better believe that Duke Tobin’s phone will be ringing off the hook. Cincinnati has several extremely tradeable pieces, particularly at wide receiver. AJ Green is in a contract year and recently sounded like a man who is leaning toward leaving Ohio after this season.
“I got six or seven more great years ahead of me and then we’ll go from there,” Green told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “My ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl and then after a Super Bowl the Hall of Fame … I love the Bengals and I’d love to be part of the organization for the rest of my career. But you just never know. I just take each year at a time and go out there and play, get healthy, go from there.
“It’s hard,” Green continued. “This is a place I’ve been for the last eight years. So it’s hard to see myself somewhere else with family and all that is here. But you just never know and like I said I can’t control that. Something may get done. Something may not get done.”
Green was speaking to a contact extension, but the two sides are nowhere close to a deal as we enter the summer months.
The Bengals may have an emergency plan in place if they need to trade Green or even watch Green walk after this season. According to The GM Shuffle’s Mike Lombardi, the Bengals have rejected trades involving receiver Alex Erickson and are extremely high on John Ross as well.
Teams still looking at the wide receiver market right now are the Bills, Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Steelers and Cowboys and that need could increase once the season begins.
The Bills landed Cole Beasley in free agency but would still like to surround Josh Allen with more options. Remember that they nearly landed Antonio Brown via trade a few months back.
The Patriots drafted a wide receiver in the first round in N’Keal Harry but there is no sure thing that Harry and Tom Brady will be on the same page. Brady has often struggled with young, fresh faces at receiver. New England is also counting on Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon to help shoulder the load and both of those veteran wide outs have major question marks.
As for the Eagles, Howie Roseman hold the philosophy that if you surround a competent quarterback with as much talent as possible then 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a winning scenario. DeSean Jackson was a nice addition, but like Thomas in New England he is a bit long in the tooth. There’s no guarantee he holds up all season.
The Redskins aren’t exactly in win-now mode so they may hold off until next offseason to target a top-flight wide out like Green. But it would be nice if Dwayne Haskins had some sort of security blanket to throw to in his rookie campaign.
The Steelers? Not happening. No way the Bengals would trade him within the division.
And finally we get to the Cowboys. Dallas has Amari Cooper, Allen Hurns and Randall Cobb in the mix but if second year man Michael Gallup is unable to build on a decent rookie campaign the Cowboys could be in the market for a top receiver come October.