Bengals heading into the 2023 season:
* $224.8 mil will be the NFL Team Salary Cap
* Bengals currently are $43.7 mil under with 41 players under contract for 2023 season.
* Draft Picks: Bengals have all 7 of their picks for 2023 and for 2024. For 2023 they will be picking:
- 1st: 28th overall, 2nd: 60, 3rd: 92, 4th: 131, 5th: 165, 6th: 206, 7th: 248
*** Picks in the 4th round on down will drop further down from an overall standpoint due to compensatory picks getting awarded.
*** Bengals are not projected to receive any compensatory picks for the 2023 draft
* Players on the last year of their Rookie contract
- QB Joe Burrow (age 26): For 2023 Burrow will be a $11.5 mil cap hit. If Bengals do not extend Burrow they will obviously pick up his 5th year option which is projected to be $30.1 mil for 2024. I would expect the Bengals & Burrow to agree to an extension this offseason for something along the lines of 5 year for $250+ mil with $200 mil guaranteed.
* Wr Tee Higgins (age 23): For 2023 Higgins will be a $3.9 mil cap hit. If Bengals do not extend Higgins he will be a unrestricted FA next year. If he signs with someone else next year, Higgins would probably be a 3rd or at worse 4th round compensatory pick for 2024 draft. If Bengals extend Higgins, the top 14 highest paid wr's all make approximately $20 mil per year with about 2/3 of the deal guaranteed. Thus, maybe something like a 4 year, $80 mil with $60 mil guaranteed.
* LB Logan Wilson (age 26): For 2023 Wilson will be a $3 mil cap hit. Same as Higgins will be a UFA next year if they do not extend this off season. Top 15 Inside LB's currently make approximately $10 mil per year with about 60% guaranteed. Thus, maybe something like a 4 year, $40 mil with $25 mil guaranteed.
* Potential Salary restructures or cap causalities:
- OT La'el Collins (age 29) - For 2023 Collins is a $9.3 mil cap hit but if cut, would save $6 mil with only $3.3 mil dead $$$. He could start the year on IR due to the knee injury so that alone may keep him on the Bengal roster for 2023.
- RB Joe Mixon (age 26) - For 2023 Mixon is a $12.8 mil cap hit but if cut, would save $7.2 mil with $5.5 mil dead $$$. Definitely a restructure candidate because he will 99.99% be cut before the 2024 season where he is a $13.1 mil cap it but if cut a $10.3 mil savings & only $2.7 mil dead $$$.
- CB Chidohe Awuzie (age 26) - For 2023 Awuzie is a $7.9 mil cap it but if cut, would save $6.4 mil with $1.5 mil dead $$$.
The Bengals have cap flexibility for 2023 but beginning in 2024, that will start to erode. Plus, Ja'Marr Chase will be up for either the 5th year option/extension. Chase will cost $27.5-$30 mil per year, it wont be cheap.
As long as Burrow is healthy and upright over the next 7-10+ years, Bengals will be a Super Bowl Contender. Bengals front office has to step up and make correct decisions. Every year they have Burrow the Bengals should draft a OL, Specialty player (RB, WR, TE) and a Defensive player in the first 3 rounds. Don't do what Green Bay did to Rodgers, keep talent around Burrow.