According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cincinnati Bengals and defensive end Sam Hubbard have agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $40 million.
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Hubbard now secures his future with the Bengals. The Ohio State edge rusher was selected with the No. 77 overall pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Cincinnati. In his three seasons with the Bengals, Hubbard has played in 44 games and started in 28, making a total of 177 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 33 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, eight passes defended, and one defensive touchdown.
Hubbard finished the 2020 season with a career-low two sacks while missing three games. Defensive end Carl Lawson, the team's leader in sacks in 2020 with 5.5, left in free agency to sign with the New York Jets. The Bengals have since brought in some new faces to join Hubbard upfront on the defensive line to try and improve their lackluster pass rush of recent years, most notably signing defensive end Trey Hendrickson to a four-year, $60 million contract in free agency. Hendrickson finished last season tied with Aaron Donald for second in the NFL in sacks with 13.5.
Cincinnati also went to the draft to add more help for what was one of the league's worst defenses last season. The Bengals selected Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai, Tulane edge rusher Cameron Sample, and LSU defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin with three of their first five picks in the first four rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.
To compete with the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cleveland Browns, three teams that made the playoffs last season, and to have a shot at making the playoffs themselves in 2021, Cincinnati must make major strides on defense. Hubbard bouncing back after a down season alongside Hendrickson will go a long way to improving the unit.
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