Coming off a magical season that saw the Bengals reach the Super Bowl for the 3rd time, what will Cincinnati have to do in the 2022 Off-Season in order to return to the dance.
2021 Record: 10-7 (AFC Champions)
GM: Mike Brown
HC: Zac Taylor
OC: Brian Callahan
DC: Lou Anarumo
2021 Statistical Leaders
Joe Burrow: 366-520, 70.4%, 4,611 34-14
Joe Mixon 292-1205-13, 42-314-3
Ja’Marr Chase: 81-1455-13
Tee Higgns: 74-1091-6
Tyler Boyd: 67-828-5
Logan Wilson: 100 Tak, 4 Int, 1.0 Sak
Vonn Bell: 97 Tak, 8 PD
Trey Hendrickson: 34 Tak, 14.0 Sak
Notable Free Agents:
Pos, Name, Age, Contract Status, 2021 Snap Count
RT - Riley Reiff (34), Void, 64.7%
TE - C.J. Uzomah (29), UFA, 73%
CB - Vernon Hargreaves (27), UFA, 34.1%
CB - Eli Apple (27), UFA, 87.2%
LG - Quinton Spain (31), UFA, 90.6%
(7) Projected Cost of Rookie Picks in 2022: $2.68m
Round 1 #31
Round 2 #63
Round 3 #95
Round 4 #135
Round 5 #174
Round 6 #208
Round 7 #250
The Bengals have just over 57 million of cap space, however that hides the fact that they only have 37 players currently under contract. Joe Burrow is still on his rookie deal for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, but expect with his performance in 2021 that he will likely get an extension before that time so the Bengals know what they are working on within the foreseeable future. With the success of the Bengals in 2021, perhaps they can lure some notable free agents set to hit the market on March 16th, and make another run in the AFC North in 2022 and beyond.
With the amount of cap to work with in 2022, the Bengals don’t have to restructure any deals but there are a couple that they can look into.
Trey Waynes will cost 15.8m for the 2022 season which is the last year of his deal. The 30-year old corner only played 21.6% of the snaps and was limited to 5 games in 2021.
D.J. Reader has two more years on his deal and will cost the Bengals 13.6m in 2022 and 15.6m in 2023 where he will become a UFA at age 29. He appeared in 15 games only amassing 2 sacks playing 52.5% of the snaps.
The Bengals could retain some of their own free agents (listed above) at a good price due to age and playing time if they want to keep some cohesiveness in the locker room, but there are a number of free agents that they could target with their 50+ million in cap space. Only having 37 players under contract, and only 7 picks, the Bengals have to make a move in free agency to get more players if they look to return to the Super Bowl in 2023. More notably, given the free agents and the pass-happy AFC, the Bengals could take a secondary player in the draft or look to sure up the offensive line that was mauled in their games against Tennessee and Los Angeles. With Taylor at the helm, look for Cincy to secure that offensive line to protect Burrow early on in the draft.