The Bengals should be looking to hit the reset button sooner rather than later to avoid treading mediocrity.
Over the last three seasons, the Bengals have been stuck in neutral. Having earned no more than seven wins in each of the last three seasons, they are inching towards another sub .500 season.
A vastly-improved Browns team will likely keep the Bengals at the cellar of the division. While teams like the Steelers and Ravens will remain competitive even while undergoing significant roster changes. With the multitude of injuries and culture change being experienced in The Queen City, this year should be no more than a rebuilding season for the Bengals.
The team has suffered from the injury bug early on in training camp. Already on the shelf is first round offensive tackle Jonah Williams and wide receiver A.J. Green. The absence of both will make it even tougher for new head coach Zac Taylor to implement his new system. The team also lost two starters on the offensive line from last year in center Russell Bodine to the Bills and guard Clint Boling to retirement in the spring.
It’s year nine and the Bengals know what they have in Andy Dalton, which sometimes makes it hard to move on. Dalton has been a reliable and productive player in his career and knowing that and what he has done for the franchise will prove difficult for the front office to make their decision when it ultimately comes. When they decide to move on, Taylor would likely welcome the opportunity to pick ‘his guy’ via the draft or free agency.
In 2020, teams at the top of the draft will have their choice of a few quarterbacks expected to come out. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Georgia’s Jake Fromm & Oregon’s Justin Herbert are the favorites to top the quarterback class. Another year stuck in mediocrity would allow the team to choose the next face of the franchise.
On the business side of things, a rookie quarterback would be a welcome addition with the teams’ current weapons. Because Cincinnati will be on the hook to pony up top dollar for Joe Mixon in the next two years along with the new extension given to wide receiver Tyler Boyd, the Bengals could set themselves up with a franchise signal caller on a rookie contract while paying their proven young skill players.
Now seems like a perfect time for the organization to tear it down and start over. The team should value draft picks more than the aging talent they currently employ. It would be wise for the Bengals to investigate trading two of their cornerstones Green and Dalton for draft capital.
Green, a player who has taken a tumble in regards to production, should be looking to play for a contender as his career begins to wane. While both are valued and respected members of the franchise, the business side of things takes its turn eventually in most situations between players and the team. The Bengals should be looking to receive value from both sooner rather than later.