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Cincinnati Bengals Trade Targets to Fill Out 53-Man Roster
With the preseason now over after their 16-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams, the Bengals have all the information they can get to make their roster cut downs.
Certainly, the top end of this roster is still pretty clear; that’s the benefit of returning 15 of 22 starters from the Super Bowl appearance. They’re left with a handful of tough decisions on the back of this roster.
Sometime just before Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Cincinnati Bengals need to have their team in place; fortunately, they’re not alone. With all 32 franchises looking to iron out their roster for the 2022 season. That means they’ll be dangling reserve talents on the bubble for other roster needs or trade assets from other teams.
After making the trade to acquire BJ Hill and a 2022 6th-round pick for Billy Price this time a year ago, it seems probable that the Bengals front office will at least be making calls around the league before Tuesday. Here are a few of the options that could fit the bill for the Bengals:
OJ Howard, TE, Buffalo Bills
Hayden Hurst is currently acting as the only vertical threat in the passing game within the Bengals' tight end room, any extended absence for him could throw a wrench into the offense.
With OJ Howard a rumored cut candidate in Buffalo after signing a one-year deal this spring, the Bengals could swoop in with a cheap offer to snag the former first-round pick.
While Howard struggled with injuries and played in the shadow of Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay over the last two years, his first three years sure looked promising. Between 2017 and 2019, he compiled 1456 yards and 12 touchdowns; Howard only posted 281 yards and 3 touchdowns combined in 2020 and 2021. An augmented role in the Bengals offense behind Hurst could lead to a return to form.
Alex Leatherwood, OL, Las Vegas Raiders
Over the past few days, the Raiders have made it clear their 2021 first-round pick will either be traded or cut prior to the 2022 season. Playing under his third head coach in 12 months, Alex Leatherwood seems destined for yet another change in direction.
Still, a change in scenery could be beneficial for the 23-year-old lineman. In fact, it’s worth wondering if the Bengals were hoping Leatherwood would fall to them in the early second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, they traded back and picked Jackson Carman (who could be due for his own change of scenery before the fall).
Nick Vannett, TE, New Orleans Saints
While he could still play a role as a depth tight end in New Orleans, the 29-year-old from Ohio State seems like something of an afterthought entering his second year in the Big Easy.
Across his career, Vannett has been better in situations as a passing game tight end, not possessing some of the traits that the Saints love in the blocking game. Vannett could be a cheap fixture for the Bengals, who are currently looking to add a little more juice to their tight end room. While Vannett won’t light up the Sports Center ticker, he can give this team valuable depth in their room behind Hurst.
Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Commanders
Notice a theme here? The Bengals have a real tight end problem, even with their excitement over Hayden Hurst. While he’s dealt with a ton of injuries that have derailed his career, Logan Thomas isn’t that far removed from his 2020 season, where he posted 670 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Washington certainly could hang on to Thomas, but probably see the writing on the wall; they’re closer to tanking for CJ Stroud or Bryce Young than they are paying a 31-year-old tight end to stick around for future years. This is a chance for the Bengals to send over a young, depth defensive lineman with a draft pick to snag a very capable passing game threat.
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