The Cincinnati Bengals own the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Most likely, they will use it on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and secure their franchise signal caller.
However, nothing is guaranteed until the pick has been submitted to Roger Goodell on draft night. Cincinnati could go in a totally different direction or ultimately trade the top choice for a haul of assets. It is this second option that factors into CBS Sports reporter Jason La Canfora’s bold offseason plan for the Bengals.
La Canfora’s proposal starts with Cincinnati trading incumbent quarterback Andy Dalton with one year remaining on his current contract. There’s probably not a large trade market for Dalton, but La Canfora has him heading to the Chicago Bears in exchange for the 50th overall pick this year.
After that happens is when things get really interesting. La Canfora is advocating the Bengals lock up their 2020 starting quarterback before the draft even happens. He wants the franchise to trade for Cam Newton.
Newton and Dalton have effectively the same contract. Pay-as-you go, for $19M next season. The Panthers aren’t sure what exactly to do with Newton. They’re torn. Getting him out of the NFC, if they did opt to move him, would make the most sense If Mike Brown is stuck in enough to actually tag A.J. Green in order to keep him, then go rent Newton for a year. Offer the Panthers three second-round picks. The Bengals already have the first pick of the second round this year, and the first pick of the third round. Maybe you get it done for pick 50 plus those two and something in the future? I don’t know, get creative. With Newton’s health a thing, getting pick 33 is essentially like a first-round pick. (Heck, maybe the Panthers want maximum draft capital now to go up and try to get Burrow themselves, given his relationship with Panthers new offensive coordinator Joe Brady).
After this happens, Cincinnati would then turn around and dangle the No. 1 pick for a boatload of compensation. Teams like the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers might be willing to pony up for a chance to take the quarterback of their choice first overall.
The likelihood of this all happening? Not very good. There’s a lot of moving parts, and we doubt this is the route Cincinnati wants to go in the first place. The safest play is to take whichever quarterback they feel they can build around with the first overall pick.
If they don’t want to do that, trading the pick for assets is the way to go. The Bengals could then kick the can on finding their foundational quarterback until 2021, when Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and others will be available.