The Cincinnati Bengals will be upgrading their pass rush while the New Orleans Saints will lose a key player.
When a draft class is talented, players are expected to leave in free agency. The New Orleans Saints are about to learn that the hard way as their 2017 class is expected to hit the market.
While the team was able to franchise tag Marcus Williams, it’s lost a key pass rusher in the process.
The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with defensive and Trey Hendrickson. The deal is expected to be a four-year plan worth $60 million with $32 million paid in the first two seasons. Hendrickson will earn an average salary of $15 million per year.
The 2020 season was a kind one for Hendrickson’s value on the open market. In what can only be called a breakout year, the former third-round rotational player shined as a pass-rusher, recording 25 total tackles and 13.5 sacks, placing him inside the top-five for the year.
For his career, the 26-year-old defender has recorded 65 total tackles, 20 sacks and three pass deflections. The Bengals lost their own star pass rusher when Carl Lawson agreed to a three-year deal with the New York Jets.
Is Hendrickson a buyer’s beware signing for the Bengals?
Cincinnati needed to address its pass rush after a lost season with new quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals finished 32nd in total sacks with 17 and were one of three teams that did not record 20 sacks on the season.
The one problem with the Bengals adding a player like Hendrickson is if the production will match the contract. Prior to 2020, he was a rotational defensive player that never recorded more than four sacks on the year. That was also last season. His first two years combined with the Saints? Two total sacks.
This isn’t to say that Hendrickson will flourish in the jungle, but it definitely raises questions about whether he will meet his average salary. Pass rushers are always set to come at a high price, but one-year production may not add up to a $15 million annual pay day.
For New Orleans, they best hope that fourth-year pro Marcus Davenport will rebound after two lost seasons. With Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill back in the Bayou, they hope to remain a contender for at least the 2021 season.