CINCINNATI — Bengals training camp begins on Wednesday afternoon.
The team faces a plethora of questions—most of which should be answered in the coming weeks. There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding this team.
The secondary is a big question mark. Cornerback Trae Waynes didn't play a snap last year due to a torn pectoral muscle. Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton both signed with the team in March.
Their cornerback room is deeper, but how much better are they? That's one of the many questions that we'll get the answer to this season.
Despite spending significant money in free agency at cornerback the past two offseasons, the Bengals should at least consider making one more move.
Dolphins star Xavien Howard officially requested a trade. The 28-year-old wants a new deal after leading the NFL with 10 interceptions last year. Cincinnati only had 11 interceptions as a team last season.
The asking price for Howard might be high, but the Bengals should at least make the Dolphins an offer.
As talented as he is, not many teams have the cap room to trade for him.
The Bengals are one of 14 teams that have enough space to pull it off. The Jaguars, Broncos, Panthers, Jets, Chargers, Browns, Lions, 49ers, Colts, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers and the Washington Football Team are the others.
That may seem like a lot, but Pittsburgh would be right against the cap. Teams like the Lions and Jets are in rebuild mode.
Cincinnati is hoping to take a step forward this season and Howard could help them do that.
Would Waynes and a mid-round pick get it done? The Dolphins are in win-now mode. Sending them a competent cornerback and a third-round draft pick might be enough.
There aren't going to be teams lining up to trade high picks for the two-time Pro Bowler. Howard wants a new contract. That's going to hurt his trade value.
A team may be willing to give up a first-rounder for Howard, but that seems unlikely since he wants to be one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL.
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo helped draft Howard in 2016 (38th overall). He's developed into one of the games best cornerbacks.
"You want as many corners that can cover. If you get guy that stands out as a No. 1 that's great, but in this league these days you better have guys who can cover," Anarumo said when asked about the importance of having a clear No. 1 cornerback. "You have to look at it as you have three starting corners, because you are going to be in some type of nickel defense more than anything else. So you better have three good ones, and that's not enough. The more the merrier when it comes to corner. Yeah I want a No. 1, but I want a bunch of guys who can cover and play well."
It may be unlikely, but it can't hurt for Duke Tobin to pick up the phone and inquire about the NFL's latest disgruntled star.
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