July 16, 2024

With the likes of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the roster, the Cincinnati Bengals have no shortage of star power. But, not all important players are stars, and the Bengals also have a plethora of key contributors who don’t receive too much national attention. But, just because they’re not popping up in headlines all over doesn’t mean they aren’t appreciated, especially by the fans in Cincinnati.

With that said, here’s a look at three underrated Bengals players who could make a massive impact next season.

Trenton Irwin, Wide receiver

There are still some major questions at wide receiver for the Bengals. Tyler Boyd is a free agent and Tee Higgins requested a trade away from the team. Assuming that at least one of those guys isn’t back next season, Trenton Irwin could be in line for a larger load. The Bengals re-signed Irwin to a one-year deal this offseason, likely with that possibility in mind.

Irwin has spent the previous five seasons with the Bengals, but his impact has been limited playing behind the likes of Boyd, Higggins and Ja’Marr Chase. He has compiled a total of 43 receptions for 586 yards and five touchdowns over the course of his career. Now, he might finally get a chance to step out of the shadows.

Chase is going to be the team’s clear No. 1, but things are a bit murky after that, and Irwin could get a real opportunity as a result. If he can take advantage of it, he could be poised for his most productive season as a pro.

It wasn’t a secret the Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson spoke with Bengals director of pro scouting Steven Radecevic, who said the current atmosphere priced them out of Reader’s market. wanted to re-sign nose tackle DJ Reader following the 2023 season. He was a key cog in Lou Anarumo’s defensive machine when he was healthy, and seeing him sign with the Detroit Lions, whether he’s fully healthy right now or not, was like a punch in the gut to Bengals fans.

Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson spoke with Bengals director of pro scouting Steven Radecevic, who said the current atmosphere priced them out of Reader’s market.

“It was a good market for D-Tackles,” he said. “I think a lot of teams saw what was coming in the draft and felt the need to spend there. We were hopeful to try and keep DJ. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I think Rankins is going to do a great job filling a different type of void.”

Reader signed a two-year, $27.25 million deal with the Lions with $9 million fully guaranteed. Considering the nose tackle is currently recovering from a season-ending injury, and it’s currently unclear when he’ll be available, the Bengals were obviously uncomfortable spending that kind of money and went another direction instead.

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