Will Trey Hendrickson's trade request alter Bengals' draft plans?

Byron Murphy II's NFL draft profile (0:57)

Check out some of the top highlights from Texas DT Byron Murphy II. (0:57)

CINCINNATI -- Any tranquility the Cincinnati Bengals were enjoying ahead of the NFL draft was disrupted Wednesday night.

Roughly 24 hours before start of the first round Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that defensive end Trey Hendrickson had requested a trade. After Hendrickson set the franchise record with 17.5 sacks in 2023, he is looking for a bit more long-term security than Cincinnati has been willing to offer.

Hendrickson is under contract through 2025 after signing a one-year extension worth $21 million last year, and as Schefter reported, the team is not looking to move him.

However, it does add intrigue as the Bengals approach the No. 18 pick. Should there be any uneasiness about Hendrickson's willingness to be part of a Cincinnati franchise looking to compete for a Super Bowl again, looking at a defensive end in the first round might be a good idea.

On Tuesday, Bengals college scouting director Mike Potts said the team won't be shy about contemplating a move up the draft board if it can land a true impact player.

"If there are certain guys that we really target and really covet and think can get us over that hump," Potts said, "we would be stupid to not go and do what it takes to get a certain player if we think it can make that kind of impact."

Former Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II has been considered a strong fit for a team looking to bolster its interior pass rush. However, there is buzz he might be selected earlier than previously anticipated.

Top edge rushers, such as Alabama's Dallas Turner, UCLA's Laiatu Latu and Florida State's Jared Verse, could also be off the board by the time the Bengals are on the clock.

And despite taking former Clemson standout Myles Murphy in the first round of last year's draft, Cincinnati could still use another defensive end.

Murphy is projected to be a rotational edge rusher behind Hendrickson, who reached the Pro Bowl for the third straight year last season. Veteran Sam Hubbard, who is coming off ankle reconstruction surgery, has two years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2020.

Last season, Cincinnati ranked 23rd in team pass rush win rate, an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats. In free agency, the Bengals opted to sign former New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who is one of the league's best interior pass-rushers.

He also happened to be teammates with Hendrickson when both were on the New Orleans Saints. Back then, he said he was "unofficially Trey's wrangler" to keep the man nicknamed "Blackout Trey" from getting tossed from practice for fighting.

In the news conference after he signed his deal, Rankins was happy to take those reins again as he prepared to reunite with Hendrickson.

"He's a supreme talent," Rankins said. "If he wants to fight, I'll be there. It's fine. It's completely fine with me."

Hendrickson's ability -- and what he means to the Bengals -- is a large part of why Cincinnati is reluctant to let him go. The franchise is looking to get back to the Super Bowl, something it accomplished in Hendrickson's first season with the team in 2021, when the Bengals lost in their first appearance in 33 years.

There's also the financial component. With quarterback Joe Burrow under his record contract extension of five years, $275 million, and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase eyeing a massive extension, money to pay a premium edge rusher is limited.

The constraints of the salary cap have already become evident as the team has been unable to give wide receiver Tee Higgins a contract extension, which prompted a trade request that Higgins softened recently at a youth camp appearance when he said he intended to play for the Bengals in 2024.

But those two contract situations could have an impact on what the Bengals do early in the draft. Potts said he views players selected among the top 100 picks as potential starters.

He also noted that the team's perceived roster holes could look different in future years. That became evident Wednesday when Hendrickson's trade request was reported. And the latest development only underscored the need for the Bengals to have a successful draft as they try to make the most of their championship window with Burrow.

"There for sure is a sense of urgency," Potts said. "We think we are right on the cusp of being where we want to be."