Bengals melting down with trade requests before NFL Draft is comedy gold for Ravens

The Bengals are in free fall
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Perhaps no team may be a more direct roadblock in the Baltimore Ravens' success in the 2024 NFL season than the Cincinnati Bengals. With Joe Burrow expected to be back and healthy, and a deep roster on both sides of the ball punctuated by the Geno Stone signing, Baltimore will need to give them a wide berth.

Two of their playmakers, one on each side, have been making some noise in the offseason. Wide receiver Tee Higgins, one of the best No. 2 targets in the game, has requested a trade after being franchise tagged and unable to work out a long-term contract with the team who drafted him.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson has joined in the trade request fiasco, demanding to be sent away if he doesn't end up with a new long-term deal. Hendrickson has even considered retiring, showing he is willing to step away if the Bengals can't compensate him financially.

Sending the Bengals into a complete tailspin the day of the 2024 NFL Draft, possibly screwing up their plans regarding who to pick, was an unexpected windfall Ravens fans can enjoy. One year after the Lamar Jackson trade request made the Ravens a pariah, the Bengals now look like a sinking ship everyone is fleeing.

Trey Hendrickson trade request is awful for Bengals, great for Ravens

Hendrickson is still one of the best pass rushers in the league, as he is fresh off a 17.5 sack season. Unless Myles Murphy suddenly turns into Julius Peppers on the edge, don't expect Cincinnati to ever replicate Hendrickson's production if they trade him away.

While the Bengals have said they don't intend to honor this request, it seems unlikely a notoriously cheap franchise will give both players new contracts. They may have to choose between losing their terrific boundary X receiver in Higgins or their best defensive player in Hendrickson.

A Ravens offensive line that is still in flux will be thrilled with the fact they would no longer have to duke it out with Hendrickson if he gets moved. The Bengals might find it tough to get a solid haul for him, as the idea of acquiring an aging defensive end thinking about retirement and signing him to a long-term deal might not be the most attractive sales pitch.

The Ravens need a few lucky breaks to go their way if they are going to come out on top in a very deep AFC, and the Bengals imploding from within could be one of those fortuitous moves.