The offseason struggle: the Bengals offseason moves


The Bengals’ offense huddle up, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The prolonged and dreadful years of consistently being a bottom-tier football team have long since passed for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The team chose the best year to be the worst in the league in 2019 with a rising quarterback coming out of LSU (Louisiana State University)—projected to be a generational talent—they secured him in the draft.

That star quarterback is the one and only, Joseph Lee Burrow. Burrow, an Ohio native, transferred from Ohio State to LSU where he won a national championship in 2019 on one of the best college football teams of all time.

The Bengals proceeded to draft him number one overall in the draft. He suffered an MCL and ACL tear in week 11 against the then-Washington Football Team, now named the Washington Commanders. The Bengals’ record in the 2020 season was 4-11, a slim improvement from their previous 2-14 season. 

A friend and LSU teammate, Ja’marr Chase, followed suit in 2020. Chase and Burrow had a special connection on the field at LSU. He was the fifth pick in the first round of the 2021 draft and there was upheaval among fans about the selection. 

A cluster of fans wanted the Bengals to draft left-tackle Penny Sewell. The Bengals had serious issues protecting Burrow and were the worst in the league when it came to quarterback protection, a quarrel that would continue to plague the team up until the most recent season. 

Selecting Chase was the right choice. Chase was a hot target for Burrow once again and the duo, though wide receiver Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd played a major role as well, were able to take the team to their third Super Bowl and first of the 21st century. 

The Bengals lost the game to the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 and protection issues sprung up once more is what resulted in the Bengals losing the game when Aaron Donald pressured Burrow into throwing a low pass to second-string halfback Samaje Perine on fourth. 

The Bengals had an electrifying season in 2022, their best to date (13-4). They made it to the AFC Championship game again playing Kansas City, where they, unfortunately, couldn’t pull through. Like in the previous Super Bowl, the offensive line let up sack after sack. 

In the 2023 offseason, the Bengals signed Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown to a four-year 64 million dollar deal with a 31 million dollar signing bonus. 

The Bengals look to re-sign Burrow this offseason, tying up lots of their cap space. Receivers Chase and Higgins are still on their rookie deals. The Bengals may or may not re-sign halfback Joe Mixon. 

Mixon has been a solid back for the Bengals and has been essential in constructing the culture head coach Zach Taylor has been trying to build the past couple of years. 

However, with said culture firmly in place and Mixons’ less-than-stellar performance off the field, is it time for the Bengals to look elsewhere? Half-backs Ezekiel Eliiot, Mark Ingram, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt are potential options for signing. 

The Bengals let go of tight-end Hayden Hurst and Mitchell Wilcox this offseason and signed Irv Smith Jr. to a one-year deal. With the Bengals still in need of another tight end, it’s a possibility they’re looking for the upcoming draft to fill this gap. 

This year’s draft is tight-end heavy and if the Bengals plan on drafting a tight-end there are many options for them to choose from.

Some options are Darnell Washington, Sam LaPorta, Luke Muskgrave, and old Covington Catholic player Michael Mayer. 

 The Bengals’ secondary took some hits this offseason when free safety Jessie Bates and strong safety Vonn Bell left for new horizons. Ex-Rams safety, Nick Scott, was signed by the Bengals and he will likely replace Bell’s spot at strong safety for his tackling prowess. 

The Bengals will still need to fill Bates’ position either in free agency or the draft. 

The NFL draft will last from Thursday, April 27 to Saturday, April 29.