Cincinnati Bengals needs at 2021 NFL trade deadline

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At 5-2, the Cincinnati Bengals aren’t a team in need of a major move at the upcoming trade deadline.

But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t keep an eye on the market.

The Bengals have areas they could be better in even after the hot start and areas that could quickly become problematic later in the season.

Such an idea in mind, below are a few smaller areas the team could potentially address with minor moves at the deadline.

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OL

Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) plays in an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

No great surprise here. The tackles have played great and Quinton Spain has been a revelation at left guard. Second-rounder Jackson Carman continues to look better and better at right guard and center Trey Hopkins can be likely trusted to keep getting back to his usual form post-injury suffered last year. But depth is an issue — if a guard goes down, it could create an uncomfortable situation where someone like Fred Johnson has to step in despite his status as a tackle. A small depth move here would make a ton of sense.

CB

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darius Phillips runs the ball during training camp at the practice field outside of Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati Friday, July 30, 2021.
Bengalscampjuly30 7

The Bengals already hit this once by claiming Tre Flowers on waivers. But there’s still a lot to be desired here, especially with Trae Waynes on injured reserve again. Eli Apple has played better than expected and Flowers is a versatile player, but Darius Phillips hasn’t looked good when given reps. The Bengals are one more absence away from having a problem area opposing offenses can target on every down, so picking up a high-end backup would provide needed insurance.

Edge rusher

Oct 24, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) reacts after a sack in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the Trey Hendrickson show when it comes to getting pressure off the edge. Sam Hubbard has had one good game, but otherwise there hasn’t been a reliable pass-rushing threat opposite Hendrickson. That spot would normally be going to breakout rookie Joseph Ossai right now. And while the team is just getting Khalid Kareem back from injury, he just hasn’t been able to stay consistently healthy. Getting a veteran or even high-upside player to add to the rotation opposite Hendrickson would feel like a missing piece sort of move for a very good defense.

LB

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt (57) talks with teammate cornerback Darius Phillips (23) during training camp on the practice fields outside of Paul Brown Stadium in Downtown Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
Aug17bengals6

The Bengals have a very good thing going on with the Logan Wilson-Germaine Pratt-Akeem Davis-Gaither look at linebacker. But special teams ace Jordan Evans is lost for the year due to injury, which forced the roster to call up Joe Bachie to the 53. They clearly like what they’ve seen so far, but it would be unwise to straight-up ignore the depth possibilities for the position on the trade block.

Draft picks

A young fan watches the game in the fourth quarter of a Week 5 NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Green Bay Packers won, 25-22.
Green Bay Packers At Cincinnati Bengals Oct 10

It’s not a need per se, but it wouldn’t hurt to see the Bengals add more draft capital for future years by unloading a player or two who isn’t getting a ton of playing time.

We’ve listed Bengals trade candidates they could sell in such a move.

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