The Cincinnati Bengals should blow it up, start building around their young core
Most everything that could go wrong for the Cincinnati Bengals so far this season has. A team that needed everything to line up perfectly for them to be a dangerous team has seen their rookie left tackle go down for the year, one of their starting guards retire and their superstar receiver in A.J. Green go down with another injury to his legs that required surgery.
If the Bengals are honest with themselves, they should go ahead and move on from the older generation of players and add to this young foundation they have. It won't be easy, but it's the best path forward for the team on a few fronts.
First, it gives their new head coach Zac Taylor some breathing room. The Bengals are going to be a pretty bad football team. Go ahead and turn into the skid, so this year can be about development rather than competing.
It makes it easier to go ahead and walk away from Andy Dalton after this year, who simply isn't in the Bengals future.
Last but certainly not least, it gives the fanbase a chance to make peace with the fact that they are transitioning into a new era, for better or worse.
The Bengals should let Green walk after the season unless someone wants to trade a draft pick for him in spite of the ankle injury. Tyler Boyd is the present and the future of that position for the team and sadly due to injuries, the Bengals didn't get to enjoy enough of them together.
Go ahead and exercise the out on Geno Atkins contract. He's 31 now. The Bengals aren't going to win anything with him in the fold at 32 and 33 years old.
Now, here's the really difficult part, especially for owner Mike Brown. Eat the money on Carlos Dunlap's contract and trade him for an asset. He should be able to fetch a nice price with the Bengals eating $10 million in dead money.
Those moves would give the Bengals another $45M in cap room for 2020 plus whatever they get in trade for Dunlap and some compensatory picks for Green and Dalton heading off elsewhere.
They can bottom out to get their quarterback of the future and be honest to a rebuild that has a base level of talent, but needs to get healthy and add more pieces. As good as Green, Atkins and Dunlap are, they don't have enough help to get the Bengals anywhere. And the longer the Bengals keep them around, the longer the team lives a lie when they need all the draft assets they can get.
Nothing about this is easy or fun, but circumstances beyond the Bengals control have intervened and this appears to be the best course of action to move forward, give Zac Taylor the tools he needs to build a team and embrace the young nucleus they have.
The Bengals look every bit the part of a last place team right now. They might as well embrace it, reset their salary cap and add some assets to build towards the future.