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Bengals and Clint Boling close to new deal, per Geoff Hobson

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The Bengals should have their entire starting offensive line back in 2015 after getting Clint Boling locked up.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE:

Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network reports the Bengals and Clint Boling have agreed to terms on a new contract. She adds the contract should be signed and announced Wednesday morning.

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The Cincinnati Bengals are nearing an agreement with free agent guard Clint BolingGeoff Hobson reports.

At this point, it would actually be a mild surprise for the Bengals to retain Boling. The belief was that team like the Vikings or Jets would be willing to outbid Cincinnati for Boling's services.

After all, the Bengals are set to have several starting lineman becoming free agents over the next two seasons. Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith and Kevin Zeitler all become free agents next year, unless Zeitler has his fifth-year option exercised.

That would give Zeitler a cap hit of around $8 million before Smith and Whitworth are even re-signed. It's going to be tough to get everyone re-signed, maybe even unrealistic. This should have, in theory, allowed several teams to easily outbid the Bengals to pick up Boling.

It's great to see that Boling could possibly be back and keep Cincinnati's offensive line intact next year. It's been the strength of the team during the past two years, and should be once again in 2015.

Here are Boling's Pro Football Focus grades over the past three seasons, during which time he has been a full-time starter in Cincinnati.

  • 2014: +5.8 overall (-4.7 pass blocking, +9.2 run blocking)
  • 2013: +6.0 overall (+5.6 pass blocking, -2.1 run blocking)
  • 2012: +8.8 overall (+5.2 pass blocking, +1.5 run blocking)
As you can tell, Boling has dramatically improved as a run-blocker, and he was an underrated reason why Cincinnati ranked 6th-overall in rushing offense this past season. Keeping Boling was among the Bengals' top priorities coming into the offseason, and it looks like they're close to checking that off the to-do list.