Zac Taylor acknowledged the Cincinnati Bengals at least are listening to trade offers and discussing them daily, but his focus remains on preparing to win with the guys on his roster now.
A handful of Bengals players have been mentioned in the media as potential trade targets for other teams. However, Cincinnati hasn’t made a midseason trade since 2011, and with the NFL trade deadline approaching Oct. 29, it remains unclear whether the organization will buck that trend with a new head coach in place.
“We meet every single morning, and we talk through anything that’s on the table,” Taylor said Monday. “There are a lot of things on the table. Every day — it’s not a state of the union — it’s an ongoing conversation, every single day, and we’re in a good place there.”
The last time the Bengals made a move in-season was when they shipped off disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer to the Raiders at the trade deadline in 2011 after Palmer threatened to retire rather than return to Cincinnati. The picks the Bengals got in return resulted in the drafting of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and running back Giovani Bernard.
It’s been even longer since the Bengals actually made a move to acquire an additional player in-season, the last one occurring in 1972.
“We listen to anything,” Taylor said. “It’s not smart to pick up the phones and (not) listen to what’s said. Again, our approach is we have these guys in the locker room, and we have to focus on winning a game with these guys.”
Cincinnati remains winless seven games into the season and heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Rams in London.
It’s probably too late to improve the Bengals’ situation this year, so looking toward future drafts seems like the most likely possibility, but when asked specifically if there are players outside the organization that could improve the team, Taylor again kept the attention on the guys currently in the locker room.
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“That’s not really a thing for me to talk about right now,” Taylor said. “We’ve got these guys in the locker room that we believe in, and are working their tails off. I’ve seen a lot of these guys work since April that didn’t think they were going to get many opportunities, and now they’re getting them. I’m really motivated and excited to see these guys get a chance to prove themselves.”
Quarterback Andy Dalton said the organization has to figure out if the Bengals could use some outside help, but the players are all committed to going “to battle with each other” and sticking together.
Linebacker Nick Vigil still has confidence the Bengals can turn things around with the players they have now.
“I think we’ve got all the players in the locker room to turn this around and have a good season,” he said. “We have talent at every level in a lot of different positions, so we have to come together and find ways to win because we’re in the games late in the games, we just have to finish.”
Taylor said he doesn’t even address trade speculation with the team or individual players. He doesn’t keep up with the trade rumors unless someone brings it to his attention, like with the various reports that teams are willing to deal first-round draft picks for wide receiver A.J. Green.
Other names that have surfaced as trade targets include defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, Dalton and 2018 first-round draft pick Billy Price.
“It’s not hard for me to tune out because I don’t know where I would hear it,” Taylor said. “Unless someone turns on the radio in my office, I wouldn’t know. I’ve said what I’ve said about A.J. (Green). I’m not going to go through the whole list of everybody. There was speculation about A.J., and I wanted to make it clear that he’s not going anywhere, and he’s staying here.”
Taylor also reiterated that Green will play whenever he is ready. The Bengals aren’t waiting out the trade deadline or the bye week, as he continues to work back from ankle surgery.
“I just want to see him practice,” Taylor said. “I know I’ve spent a lot of time talking (about him) up here, and last week we gave him some time off. This week, he’ll get a chance to come back and take it day-to-day. I wouldn’t put him out in a game if he hasn’t gone through a full practice yet. Of course today is Monday, so we’ll see where he’s at on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I’m not saying it’s out of the question that he would play on Sunday. I don’t know what the likelihood of that is until I see him practice. Truthfully, we’ll just see where he’s at.”
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