The compulsory Conference Championship Sunday Splash! reports included some news-about-nothing about Cincinnati’s plans for their hard-earned first overall pick in the draft.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the Bengals “have no intention of trading the No. 1 overall draft pick no matter the interest they get in it.”
The Bengals are widely believed to be targeting LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the draft.
But here’s the thing. Teams that ultimately make a trade routinely claim they won’t. Recent examples include Odell Beckham and Jalen Ramsey. Their teams said they wouldn’t be traded, until their teams got trade offers they liked.
Saying there will be no trade is how a team builds leverage, in the absence of an auction among multiple teams. If, ultimately, only one team wants to trade up to the top spot, the Bengals can squeeze the most out of their prospective trade partner by saying, “We’re not trading the pick.”
Until they trade the pick. For more than they’d get if their public position was, “We’d like to trade the pick.”
So the report, which fails to account for the simple reality that the Bengals may be posturing (then again, the use of the word “intention” provides some degree of cover), is either potentially inaccurate, if the Bengals get an offer they can’t refuse, or entirely accurate, with the Bengals being the Bengals and flatly refusing any and all offers no matter how strong they may be.