June 21, 2024

Up until the completion of the 2022 NFL season, the Cincinnati Bengals have improved steadily since hiring defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo in 2019. Regretfully, the team’s performance on the defensive end of the ball declined significantly in the previous season, and it became abundantly clear that a change was necessary before the 2024 campaign began. Anarumo was among the most intriguing prospects for head coach in the 2023 offseason, but after a dismal 2023, he will need to demonstrate that he still has what it takes to stay in Cincinnati.

With an overall Pro Football Focus (PFF) score of 80.6, Pratt established himself as one of the NFL’s top off-ball linebackers and was an undeniable superstar during the 2022 season. In addition, Pratt produced an outstanding coverage grade of 90.1, but his ability to cause a turnover in a crucial circumstance was by far his greatest improvement.

Pratt made a big breakthrough in 2022, but 2023 was a huge letdown. Pratt’s rating fell significantly, according to PFF, to an overall grade of 63.3, which included a coverage dip to 65.3. Observing Pratt during the previous season made it evident that he was overly preoccupied with trying to cause turnovers and ultimately disregarded his obligations to execute smart plays. Pratt was out of position much too often last season, and his missed tackle rate increased dramatically from 5.9% in 2022 to 10.7% in 2023. He also struggled with missed tackles.

Pratt has one foot out the door going into the season after experiencing such a sharp decline in performance following the signing of a big three-year contract worth more than $20 million. Pratt’s $2 million salary cap in 2025 would appear like a throwaway loss to a team in dire need of salary cap space if he has a terrible 2024 season. After all, with Ja’Marr Chase anticipated to get a huge deal extension this offseason, this team will probably have one-third of its salary space locked up on just Burrow and Chase.

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