Two Star Cincinnati Bengals Have Now Requested Trades Ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

Is there trouble brewing at the Cincinnati Bengals camp? Earlier this year, the team decided to place the franchise tag on star wide receiver Tee Higgins. It didn’t take long for Higgins to request a trade, as there had been reports of discussions not taking place that would result in a multi-year deal for the wide receiver.

Now, just over 24 hours before the 2024 NFL Draft gets underway, the Bengals have been hit with a second star player requesting a trade.

Adam Schefter reported on X that Pro Bowl defensive end Trey Hendrickson has requested a trade from the team. Hendrickson is set to make $15 million this season but is reportedly looking for more “long-term” security.

According to Schefter’s post, “Bengals three-time Pro-Bowl DE Trey Hendrickson has requested to be traded from Cincinnati, per league source. Hendrickson is due to make $15 million this season, and is looking for more long-term security than Cincinnati has been willing to offer.”

Bengals players Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard
CINCINNATI, OHIO – JANUARY 07: Sam Hubbard #94 and Trey Hendrickson #91 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Paycor Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio….

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Hendrickson is one of the best edge defenders in the game, as he secured a staggering 17.5 sacks in 2023, which is 1.5 behind league leader T.J. Watt. Hendrickson has been a monster with the Bengals since he arrived in 2021, picking up 39.5 sacks in the last three seasons. Hendrickson is a cornerstone piece of the Bengals’ defense, and losing him would be detrimental to that side of the football.

The more troublesome nature of these trade requests is the Bengals still need to produce an extension for Ja’Marr Chase, who is arguably a top-five wide receiver in the NFL. The team announced on Wednesday they would be picking up the fifth-year option on Chase’s contract, paying him a guaranteed $21.8 million in 2025.

Teams often pick up fifth-year options in hopes they can work out a long-term deal. Chase is due a long-term deal, and the Bengals will need to figure out a way to retain him and pay franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.

The hope was that the Bengals would enter the 2024 season and return to AFC dominance, especially with a healthy Burrow at the helm. However, the team might be at a deep loss if both Higgins and Hendrickson get their wish granted and are traded to new teams.

The Bengals will have a lot to talk about in the next 24 hours, as they could potentially offload both players to other teams, and stack some much-needed draft capital. But should they trade Higgins and Hendrickson, they will have some glaring holes at the receiver and edge rusher position. There is no guarantee the draft capital they potentially receive will turn into starters who can replace their current star players.