Offseason Game Plan: Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line

USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have eight offensive linemen signed through 2013, with Andre Smith and Dennis Roland being the team's only free agents. What should we expect during the offseason with our big uglies?

Who do you believe?

According to Pro Football Focus' grading scale, the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line ranked No. 2 in pass protection with a score of 53.7. The advanced metrics used by Football Outsiders completely disagrees, ranking Cincinnati's pass protection 28th in the NFL with an Adjusted Sack Rate of 8.3 percent. Adjusted Sack Rate gives sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent. On the other hand Pro Football Focus grades the Bengals 27th in the NFL with a -14.2 score run blocking. Football Outsiders ranks them No. 11 with 4.16 Adjusted Line Yards.

Indeed.

On a far more simplified scale, which commonly applies to the entire offense with perhaps a weighed assessment of the offensive line, Bengals quarterbacks were sacked 46 times (ranked 26th) while running backs averaged 4.1 yards per rush (tied for 18th). However it's dangerous to enforce those numbers just on the offensive line without asking, did Andy Dalton miss a presnap read, did he scramble too soon, did a wide receiver miss a block, what about a running back picking up a blitz?

That being said what is Cincinnati's offseason game plan for the offensive line? Heading into free agency and the NFL draft, the Bengals have eight offensive linemen signed through 2013 with Andre Smith and Dennis Roland being the team's only free agents from the 2012 squad.

It's without much doubt that the Bengals will do everything within their conservatively fiscal power to sign Andre Smith, either with a long-term deal or the application of the costly franchise tag. Dennis Roland will likely return as a backup, keeping stability for necessary depth.

That being said if the Bengals are unable to retain Smith, it's highly probable that Cincinnati uses one of their first three picks (one first and two second rounds) at offensive tackle. Yes, this is why mock drafts tend to be ridiculous before free agency.

A look at the current roster.

CENTERS 2013 2014 2015
Kyle Cook $2.5 Million $2.5 Million $2.5 Million
Cap Hit $3.34 Million $3.34 Million $3.34 Million
Trevor Robinson $480,000 $570,000
GUARDS 2013 2014 2015
Travelle Wharton $2.675 Million $2.675 Million
Cap Hit $3.375 Million $3.375 Million
Kevin Zeitler $732,918 $1.08 Million $1.418 Million
Cap Hit $1.714 Million $2.057 Million $2.4 Million
Clint Boling $555,000 $645,000
OFFENSIVE TACKLE 2013 2014 2015
Andrew Whitworth $4.55 Million $5 Million $5 Million
Cap Hit $6.75 Million $6.2 Million $6.2 Million
Anthony Collins $1.8 Million
Dan Knapp $405,000 $495,000
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