We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Four years/$60 million with $16 million guaranteed
The Trey Hendrickson contract is a perfect example of the difference between the raw totals thrown out in initial reports and the money actually worked into these contracts. Hendricksons’ reported deal is worth $60 million total, but little past the first year is guaranteed. Though that’s also an oversimplification because of roster bonuses that will be awarded on the fifth day of the league year from 2021 through 2023, so as long as he’s not a disaster in Year 1, he’ll be seeing much more than the $16 million listed guarantees.
It’s not difficult to see why the contract could be structured like this, though. It’s a safe hedge for both the player and the Cincinnati Bengals. Hendrickson is a tough player to gauge. He’s been a situational edge rusher for the Saints throughout his career but got more playing time in 2020, reaching more than 50% of the defensive snaps for the first time.
Hendrickson was incredibly productive with that playing time as he totaled 25 quarterback hits (eighth in the NFL) and 13.5 sacks. No defensive end or linebacker with at least 150 pass rushes had a higher sack rate than Hendrick’s 4.1%, according to Sports Info Solutions. T.J. Watt was the next highest at 3.3%. It’s safe to assume Hendrickson won’t be tearing off sacks at the same rate as 2020.
But, he was able able to get pressure pretty consistently — he was fourth in pressure rate. But despite Hendrickson’s quickness and athleticism, his pass rush wins weren’t always early in the down with a below average finish in Pass Rush Win Rate, according to ESPN.
With the loss of Carl Lawson, the Bengals need pass rush help and while it looks like they’re paying Hendrickson nearly the same as what Lawson took with the Jets, they’re really only going to be paying that amount in Hendrickson lives up to the hype.