Analyzing Offseason Moves of NFL Contenders: Cincinnati Bengals

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The Bengals’ run over the past couple of years has been exhilarating. After back-to-back seasons in which they drafted in the top 5. Those two selections-Joe Burrow and Jamarr Chase. Alongside a host of other great free agency additions, put the Bengals on a path towards success. They stunned the Chiefs in the 2021 playoffs en route to a Super Bowl run. That unfortunately ended in a win for the Los Angeles Rams. The 2022 year was another successful season. But Patrick Mahomes found payback in the AFC Championship rematch. Leading the Chiefs to his second Super Bowl as QB. The Bengals went into this offseason looking to compete for a title in 2023 and prepare for a future where Burrow, Chase, and Tee Higgins receive massive contracts. Let’s look at how they did.

Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase: How LSU teammates recreated college connection with Bengals | Sporting News

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Free Agency

           The Bengals had an interesting free-agency period. They notably lost both starting safeties in Jessie Bates (who signed with the Atlanta Falcons) and Vonn Bell (signing with the Carolina Panthers). Bates’ loss wasn’t a surprise. The team drafted safety Daxton Hill in the first round of the 2022 draft to be his eventual replacement. Bell seems to be the player that got away, an unexpected loss for the team. The team signed Nick Scott of the LA Rams to help make up for their losses.

Will Bengals extend a veteran like Vonn Bell soon?

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Thankfully, the Bengals return free agent, re-signing linebacker Germaine Pratt to a 3-year, $20.25 million deal. Pratt was a loss many had anticipated, but his outlook as the long-term partner next to Aaron Wilson leaves the middle of the defense solidified. The biggest free agent acquisition was Orlando Brown Jr. from the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs. Brown’s agent had contacted the team, and (unofficial) GM Duke Tobin knew to take the opportunity.

Bengals re-signing key LB Germaine Pratt to 3-year deal - ESPN

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Brown signed a 4-year, $64 million contract, making him the biggest guaranteed money ever given out at signing in Bengals franchise history. Brown’s signing kicks Jonah Williams out to Right Tackle, where he will start while last year’s free agent signing La’el Collins recovers from his ACL injury. Williams initially requested a trade following the signing; retaining him is a smart move for the team. The Bengals’ depth along the offensive line was again a detriment come playoff time. 

The Draft

           The 2023 NFL Draft for the Bengals looks to help the team compete this year and in the future. First Round pick Edge Myles Murphy, a former 5-star recruit, should immediately contribute to a bolstered defensive end rotation. If Murphy pans out, the team will have a long-term replacement to move on from one of Trey Hendrickson or Sam Hubbard. Their Second Round Pick, CB DJ Turner, posted one of the fastest 40-yard dash times in combine history with 4.26 seconds.

NFL Draft Profile: Cincinnati Bengals Select Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy - Visit NFL Draft on Sports Illustrated, the latest news coverage, with rankings for NFL Draft prospects, College Football, Dynasty and Devy

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Turner adds speed, versatility, and upside to the Bengals’ secondary. His addition, alongside last year’s second-round pick Cam Taylor-Britt, gives the team great depth at the position and flexibility to replace Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton down the line. The Bengals’ third-round pick, S Jordan Battle, further shores up the hole at safety created with the departure of last year’s two starters. Battle projects less as a star and more as a solid player, making a rotation of him, Dax Hill, and Nick Scott look formidable.

Bengals 2023 draft picks rookie contract details revealed

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The Bengals’ spent the bulk of their day three picks on offensive playmakers. They selected WR Charlie Jones (4th), RB Chase Brown (5th), and WR Andrei Iosivas (6th). They’ll provide the potential to be eventual replacements for Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. The only questions remaining for the Bengals heading into the 2023 season are their offensive line depth (as mentioned earlier) and their starting Tight End. Former Viking Irv Smith Jr. signed following the draft, but a room of him and Drew Sample feels uninspiring. But you can’t fill every hole in the draft. You can’t have stars at every position. That’s part of the beauty of this league. What the Bengals do have, is one of the best rosters in the entire NFL. They’re poised to compete for a Lombardi in 2023 and the years beyond.

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