The Steelers were able to re-sign 2012 first-round right guard David DeCastro this week, but it seems the Bengals will have a more difficult time extending right guard Kevin Zeitler.
According to NFL Insider Rand Getlin, the Bengals and Zeitler are leaving the extension conversation until after the 2016 season as they have been unable to come to an agreement on an extension thus far.
#Bengals OL Kevin Zeitler was the only RG in 2015 with 500 or more pass-blocks and no sacks allowed (per PFF). Pretty incredible stat.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) September 9, 2016
The Bengals’ right guard, also selected in the first round of the 2012 Draft would likely cash in big-time if he hits free agency, which he’s slated to do in March of 2017. Zeitler has emerged as one of the better players on the Bengals’ roster and has become a fan favorite in the city of Cincinnati.
Zeitler was selected with the 27th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, three picks after the Steelers selected DeCastro with pick number 24. Without an extension, the Bengals’ guard will make $8.070 million on his fifth year option in 2016. Zeitler is currently making the third most of any guard this season. Also of note, Clint Boling is the 16th highest paid guard in the league, which could make it more difficult for the Bengals to continue paying for two top 20 paid guards.
Zeitler has likely been in extension talks with the Bengals for a while, as he and his family seem to have been keeping close tabs on the extensions being executed for other players at his position around the league.
Zeitler is one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, though, it’s understandable that he and the Bengals are waiting until after the season to continue the extension talks. The team doesn’t want to overpay for his services, while Zeitler likely hopes to increase his asking price by proving his worth with his outstanding play this season. It’s worth noting that Zeitler’s hometown Packers just released three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton and could potentially be a suitor in free agency.
Even with promising guards Christian Westerman and Trey Hopkins behind Zeitler on the depth chart, we certainly hope the Bengals can keep him around. He’s a likable guy and a fantastic football player. But now that the talks have been tabled, it’s time for Zeitler and the Bengals to focus on football. On to New York.