Trey Hendrickson

Bengals Extend DE Trey Hendrickson

Trey Hendrickson was not entering a contract year, but the Bengals will push the defensive end’s current agreement into an additional season anyway. The team announced Hendrickson’s deal, via a one-year add-on, now runs through 2025.

The former Saints draftee signed a four-year, $60MM deal in 2021 and has become an impact player for the Bengals. This agreement will likely provide more guaranteed money for Hendrickson, and it stands to create some cap space for Cincinnati this year. The deal will indeed raise Hendrickson’s 2023 payout,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that Hendrickson will earn $21MM in new money, including a $5MM raise this year and a $16MM payout in 2025 (2024 remains unchanged).

Hendrickson’s initial Cincy contract includes a $15.5MM 2023 cap number and a $17.5MM 2024 cap hit. Conversations about a new deal took place last year, per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., and an unexpected resolution emerged. With Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and Justin Herbert having signed, the final QB extension domino resides in Cincinnati.

Joe Burrow and the Bengals have been in talks for months on an extension that almost definitely will make the former No. 1 overall pick the NFL’s highest-paid player. The Bengals also have Tee Higgins and Logan Wilson going into contract years. This Hendrickson agreement should help on these fronts.

Hurts, Jackson and Herbert each raised the AAV bar this offseason, with the Chargers quarterback setting it at $52.5MM on his Tuesday extension. It will be interesting if Burrow aims to create a bit of a gap between himself and the field, seeing as he has quarterbacked the Bengals to back-to-back AFC championship games — a franchise first — and changed the trajectory of a previously downtrodden team. Mike Brown has mentioned the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes model as a potential target, but no QB extension since has followed that path. Mahomes signed a 10-year, $450MM Kansas City extension in 2020, but only one passer since — Josh Allen — has even committed to six years.

As for Hendrickson, he has shown his Saints contract year was no fluke. After not producing much during his first three seasons, the former third-round pick totaled 13.5 sacks in 2020. He collected 14.5 sacks in his Bengals debut, adding 3.5 more during the team’s run to Super Bowl LVI. Last season, Hendrickson finished with eight sacks and 24 QB hits.

Although this agreement will increase Hendrickson’s 2023 earnings, it is interesting Florida Atlantic alum would sign off on pushing a $15MM-per-year contract beyond its previous endpoint. The edge rusher market will continue to rise, especially after Nick Bosa‘s upcoming extension, and Hendrickson could have increased his leverage by entering a contract year in 2024. A 2025 free agency trip could have certainly been lucrative, assuming Cincinnati’s top pass rusher keeps up his current pace. Hendrickson is now tied to the Bengals through his age-31 season.

Then again, Hendrickson was tied to a nonguaranteed 2024 payment and would have turned 30 before a potential free agency bid anyway. Now, the productive pass rusher — whose 2021 deal included just $16MM fully guaranteed — will pick up more cash while still in his prime.

Bengals Set To Face Challenge To Young Culture

The Bengals have established a pattern in recent years that show they prize youth and tend not to sign players to third contracts. After past days of paying staples like Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, and A.J. Green, Cincinnati has flipped gears, allowing such mainstays as C.J. Uzomah, Vonn Bell, and Giovani Bernard to walk in favor of younger players. Center Ted Karras is the only starter currently in his 30s, and backups safety Michael Thomas and quarterback Trevor Siemian are the only others on the roster older than him.

This newfound aversion to paying players into their 30s will be put to the test in the next two years, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. Next year will be a contract year for cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, wide receiver Tyler Boyd, and defensive tackle D.J. Reader, all currently wrapping up their second contracts. The following offseason will see the pending free agency of defensive end Trey Hendrickson, as well. If recent tradition holds true, none of the four would don striped helmets in 2025. These four present a great challenge to the Bengals’ young philosophy.

Perhaps projecting this exact philosophy, Cincinnati used three draft picks on these positions, selecting pass rusher Myles Murphy in the first round, cornerback DJ Turner II in the second round, and wide receiver Charlie Jones in the fourth round. Jones doesn’t quite have the size to be an eventual replacement for Boyd, but Murphy and Turner seem like clear attempts to bolster the future at those two positions.

You’ll notice Reader didn’t have a possible replacement drafted. Dehner asserts that of all the aging players, Reader stands the best chance of returning on a third contract. Ever since arriving from Houston, Reader has played at another level for the Bengals. He’s a captain and the spirit of the team’s defense. Dehner asserts that the benefits of milking every last ounce of football talent out of Reader outweigh the risks of taking on a portion of his eventual decline. The Bengals may need some convincing, though, as interior defensive linemen rarely display top play into their 30s. Reader turns 29 at the turn of this month.

Hendrickson likely holds the spot as the next most-likely candidate for a third contract. An underrated addition when he came over from New Orleans, Hendrickson has been nothing short of a star in Cincinnati. He followed up an impressive contract year as a Saint with two straight Pro Bowl seasons, including one with 14.0 sacks. Hendrickson turns 29 this December, meaning the Saints will have to consider whether to bring him back for any of his 30s next offseason. Truly talented pass rushers are hard to come by, so if Hendrickson performs to his usual potential, it should be an easy decision for the Bengals. Any injuries or setbacks in production, though, could put his future with the team in jeopardy.

Of course, this is all purely academic as of right now. The Bengals recent moves could all be coincidental, or they could be working on a case-by-case basis with none yet meeting the requirements necessary to reach a third contract. Regardless, Reader, Hendrickson, Boyd, and Awuzie are all headed towards that eventual consideration. Will they be the first to buck the team’s recent trends or will Cincinnati’s roster continue to be one of the youngest in the league?

AFC Rumors: Ravens, Collins, Bengals, Henry

Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell missed Sunday’sgame against the Falcons as he continues to deal with a knee injury suffered a week prior in the team’s loss to Cleveland, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Yesterday’s absence was only his second of the season, an impressive showing for the 36-year-old who has showed a consistent sturdiness for his entire career.

The wording of Fowler’s tweet was a bit unclear. He stated that “Campbell could miss some time” due to the injury, which could be interpreted as a potential extended absence for the defensive leader. Fowler’s tweet, which came earlier this week, also questioned the status of this week’s game against the Falcons, indicating that perhaps the uncertainty of “could miss some time” was not pointed towards how much time he may miss but if he would miss time at all. Regardless, Campbell sat out Saturday’s game and, after the team clinched a playoff spot with a win, he may be able to take a little extra time to rest up for a postseason run.

The team also played without rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo yesterday. Nine months after a torn Achilles injury, Ojabo finally made his NFL debut against the Browns last week, playing one defensive snap and four special teams snaps. He wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report, but whatever Ojabo is dealing with, he returned back to the inactive list this week.

Here are a few other injury rumors from around the AFC, starting with two division rival players in Cincinatti:

  • Bengals tackle La’el Collins left Saturday’s win over the Patriots with a knee injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Reportedly, initial concerns were about an ACL injury, but the ligament is believed to be intact. The new understanding is that Collins’ kneecap shifted out and then back into place, resulting in the significant pain that required him to leave the game. More tests will follow to determine the severity of Collins’ knee injury.
  • Bengals pass rusher Trey Hendrickson started yesterday for the Cincinnati defense despite his broken wrist and likely plans to continue to start for the remainder of the season, according to Paul Dehner of The Athletic. Hendrickson reportedly confirmed that his wrist is broken but explained that “multiple doctors” told him that the injury cannot worsen. He has the ability to play through the injury with no need of a club; he will have full hand and finger mobility. As long as Hendrickson can manage and play through the pain, he will be able to continue contributing to the AFC North leaders.
  • Patriots tight end Hunter Henry left Saturday’s loss with a knee injury after only one drive, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Henry was unable to contribute to the box score before leaving. Henry, who has dealt with multiple knee injuries over his career, is considered day-to-day and will undergo further tests this week. If Henry misses any time, veteran tight end Jonnu Smith would be the next man in line for snaps. Unfortunately, Smith exited yesterday’s game with a concussion, so he, too, will have some work to do to play next week. If neither player can go when the team hosts the Dolphins next week, New England may have to turn to practice squad receiver Scotty Washington who is sometimes listed at tight end, as well.

Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson Suffers Broken Wrist

DECEMBER 13: When speaking to the media about Hendrickson’s injury, head coach Zac Taylor did not rule him out for the team’s Week 15 matchup against the Buccaneers. He added that an IR stint (which would require at least a four-week absence) will not be forthcoming, meaning the Bengals are optimistic that a quick recovery will take place.

DECEMBER 11: The surging Bengals took a big hit today when their leading pass rusher, Trey Hendrickson, suffered a broken wrist during today’s win over the Browns, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Despite the injury, Hendrickson finished the game, ensuring a win for the Bengals.

Hendrickson currently leads the team in both sacks and quarterback hits with six and 22, respectively. Hendrickson combines with starting defensive end Sam Hubbard to form one the league’s more pressuring duos. Between the two, they total 11.5 sacks, 39 quarterback hits, and 16 tackles for loss. While Hendrickson’s pace of sack production has been slower than last season’s 14-sack performance, he is still a leader on Cincinnati’s defense and will be a tough player to replace.

Despite Hendrickson playing through the injury today, most believe the injury will hold him out for a few weeks. Without Hendrickson, the Bengals will turn to Joseph Ossai. A third-round pick who missed his rookie season with a meniscus injury last year, Ossai has done a decent job in relief work behind Hendrickson and Hubbard this season. Ossai has racked up two sacks, two tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits despite only playing about 25% of the team’s defensive snaps.

Cincinnati also rosters Cameron Sample and Jeff Gunter, who could be available to rush the passer in Hendrickson’s absence. The Bengals will hope to see Hendrickson return to play in time for late-season matchups against the Bills and Ravens that could very well decide the AFC North.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Bengals’ Trey Hendrickson Cleared To Play In Divisional Round

The Bengals have received some very positive news on the injury front. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson has been cleared from concussion protocol, and will play on Saturday against the Titans (Twitter link via ESPN’s Ben Baby). 

Hendrickson, the team’s top pass rusher, suffered the injury during last week’s win over the Raiders – Cincinnati’s first postseason victory in over 30 years. He still made an impact, though, registering a sack and one forced fumble prior to leaving the game.

The 27-year-old was one of the biggest additions the team made in the offseason, signing a four-year, $60MM deal in March after a productive start to his career in New Orleans. So far, he has been worth every penny. In 16 games this year, Hendrickson recorded a team-high 14 sacks, along with 34 total tackles and three forced fumbles. In general, he has played a major role in the team’s defensive turnaround from previous years, which is one of the reasons they seemed poised to be AFC contenders for the foreseeable future.

Hendrickson will not doubt have a lot to do with the Bengals’ fortunes, good or bad, in the Divisional Round when they visit the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bengals To Sign DE Trey Hendrickson

Trey Hendrickson is getting paid following his breakout campaign.’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the defensive end is signing with the Bengals. It’s a four-year deal worth $60MM, including $32MM in the first two years.

The 2017 third-round pick out of Florida Atlantic had spent his entire four-year career in New Orleans, including a 2019 campaign where he collected 4.5 sacks in 13 games (three starts). The Saints inserted him into the starting lineup in 2020, and the 26-year-old responded with a career year.

Hendrickson ultimately started each of his 15 games this past season, compiling 25 tackles, 25 QB hits, and 13.5 sacks. That performance earned him a first-team All-Pro nod following the season. Despite that standout performance, it’s not a huge surprise that Hendrickson isn’t sticking around New Orleans; we heard back in February that the defensive end may be too pricey for the cash-strapped Saints.

Earlier today, we learned that Hendrickson was connected to the Jets, Vikings, Browns, and Bengals. Cincinnati always seemed like a natural sutior for a pass rusher. The Bengals front office did not place its franchise tag on Carl Lawson, who ultimately signed with the Jets. That opened up a clear hole on Cincy’s defensive line.

Jets, Vikings, Browns, Bengals Interested In DE Trey Hendrickson

With Shaquil Barrett off the board after his re-signing with Tampa Bay the group of free agent pass-rushers took a hit, but there are still plenty of quality options available. One of those options is the Saints’ Trey Hendrickson, and we now have details on what the bidding for his services looks like.

The Jets, Vikings, and Browns have all shown interest in signing Hendrickson, a source told Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link). Anderson notes that list is in no particular order. We’ve heard all offseason that the Browns are looking to add a pass rusher next to Myles Garrett, so their interest isn’t surprising.

The Bengals are also interested in Hendrickson, per Anderson (on Twitter). Cincinnati did not place its franchise tag on Carl Lawson, running the risk of letting the emerging pass rusher defect in free agency. It will be interesting to see the prices for Hendrickson and Lawson. The former broke out in 2020, while the latter has been a producer for a bit longer.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network followed up with a tweet noting that the Jets view Hendrickson as a “great fit” for new coach Robert Saleh‘s system. New Orleans is in a really tough cap situation, and GM Mickey Loomis seemed to acknowledge last month that Hendrickson moving on was likely.

Hendrickson was a revelation last year, coming out of nowhere to start 15 games and rack up 13.5 sacks. The 2017 third-round pick had previously had only 6.5 sacks total over his first three years in the league, but set himself up nicely for a big payday in 2020. It’ll be very interesting to see what kind of contract he ends up landing. Yannick Ngakoue is another big edge rushing domino waiting to fall.

Saints May Be Unable To Retain DE Trey Hendrickson

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson was a revelation for the Saints in 2020, piling up 13.5 sacks in an unexpectedly strong platform year. Selected by New Orleans in the third round of the 2017 draft, Hendrickson had never started more than three games nor played in more than 38% of the club’s defensive snaps prior to the 2020 campaign, but he started 15 regular season contests and logged 53% of the Saints’ defensive snaps last year.

As a result, he finds himself being mentioned alongside players like Shaquil Barrett, Yannick Ngakoue, and Bud Dupree as quality pass rushers eligible to hit the open market next month. The Saints would certainly like to keep Hendrickson, but it’s unclear if they will be able to make a competitive offer.

Last week, we learned that the 2021 salary cap was likely to fall between $180MM-$181MM, which represents a significant decrease from the 2020 figure of $198.2MM. Even before the drop, the Saints were projected to be well over the salary cap, and while the club has started to reduce its cap commitments by agreeing to a renegotiated deal with retiring QB Drew Brees and releasing OL Nick Eason, there is still a lot more work to be done.

Former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry details how the Saints can bring themselves under the cap with a series of cuts and restructures, none of which seem particularly difficult to pull off (though they do include the type of machinations that have led to the Saints being right up against the cap, or over it, every offseason). His proposals do not contemplate an extension for Hendrickson, however, whom Corry says may have priced himself out of New Orleans.

Indeed, GM Mickey Loomis recently acknowledged that Hendrickson, 26, is “going to be an attractive free agent for anyone” (via Amie Just of Loomis, who was speaking before the recent reports concerning the 2021 salary cap, said, “I can’t really say how strong a play we can make for that until I understand where the cap’s gonna be this year and as we go through the roster evaluations and start making our choices.”

Assuming the cap does settle in at around $180MM, a franchise tag for Hendrickson would cost about $14.5MM, and it’s unlikely the Saints would be able to carry that full amount on their books in 2021. So the only way for them to retain Hendrickson would be via a multi-year contract, and while the reduced cap could suppress the price tags of some players, it might still be difficult for New Orleans to bring back the Florida Atlantic product.

Hendrickson will doubtlessly be shooting for a deal worth at least $15MM per season, along with guarantees in the $30MM-$40MM range. He does not currently offer much by way of run defense or pass coverage, but the raw sack total he posted will attract plenty of attention, and he should find at least one team willing to meet his asking price. Whether that team is the Saints, who also have decisions to make on fellow free agents Marcus Williams and Sheldon Rankins, is very much an open question.