Why Bengals have a hidden edge over fellow AFC contenders

Why Bengals have a hidden edge over fellow AFC contenders

The goal for every team is to win the Super Bowl. The realism of that goal is entirely dependent on which team you’re talking about.

For the first time in a long time, the Bengals are operating under the knowledge that it is a feasible objective, and everyone else is taking note as well.

Now two seasons removed from their first trip back to the Super Bowl in over 30 years, there’s a sense of urgency for the franchise to not only make another run, but finish it this time.



Is everything hinging on this upcoming season? Not as much as you’d think, and not as much as their competition.

Why Bengals have a hidden edge over fellow AFC contenders

In a study done by OverTheCap.com’s Jason Fitzgerald, the Bengals were found to be maintaining strong salary cap health without having very many key players entering free agency next season. Other teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills are more in the “win now” area.



Only a handful of teams have fewer impact players entering the final year of their contracts this season. Jonah Williams, Tyler Boyd, and Chidobe Awuzie are names expected to hit the market and garner interest from other clubs, while Logan Wilson and DJ Reader may get more interest to be retained by the Bengals.



Fitzgerald explained that teams in the Bengals’ quadrant have the cap space to be active in free agency or take on extensions early in 2024. Those extensions could much sooner with Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins eligible right now and in the front office’s plans.

By keeping those two and a few others in the fold, the Bengals are set up much better than the Bills and Chiefs to hold onto their championship-caliber core.

Those teams will always be in the conversation so long as their quarterbacks are still playing well, but the Bengals’ way of roster building invokes long-term stability rather than pushing every chip into the middle of the poker table.



Why Bengals have a hidden edge over fellow AFC contenders

It all has to result in a Lombardi Trophy making its way to Paycor Stadium eventually. Thankfully, the Bengals will be able to take numerous cracks at it for years to come.


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