The Cincinnati Bengals wasted no time replacing pass-rusher Carl Lawson, who agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the New York Jets on Day 1 of the legal tampering period. On Monday evening and in the aftermath of the Lawson deal, the club signed edge rusher Trey Hendrickson to a four-year contract worth $60 million, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The contract will pay Hendrickson $32 million in the first two years, making it quite the payday for the 26-year-old.
Hendrickson was one of the breakout stars of 2020, earning first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. The former third-round pick was elevated to the starting rotation in New Orleans' front seven and immediately rewarded the club by wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Through 15 games played (all starts), Hendrickson totaled a career-high 13.5 sacks and 25 quarterback hits for the Saints. He also had 33 pressures and seven hurries during what was his final season in New Orleans.
Adding a presence like Hendrickson along the front seven was already important for the Bengals heading into the offseason but became imperative once Lawson signed with New York. Cincinnati ranked dead last in the NFL in sacks in 2020 and a majority of their pressure was placed by Lawson, who led the team with 5.5 sacks, 44 pressures, and 32 quarterback hits last year.
With him now out the door, the Bengals were looking into an abyss that featured opposing quarterbacks dropping back with ease. Now that Hendrickson is in the fold, it at least gives one player that offenses will need to keep an eye.