Some of it is just in terms of more depth being necessary, but some of it is also due to the projected starters being a major liability. It's never too late to find help on the free agent market, so here's a look at four free agents the Bengals should consider as we head into summer.
The Bengals have major questions at both offensive tackle spots heading into the 2017 season. Cedric Ogbuehi has been a disaster to this point, and Jake Fisher has been up-and-down at best. It's very likely this ends up being the worst starting tackle tandem of the Andy Dalton era, and perhaps even the Marvin Lewis era.
But the Bengals don't have to go into 2017 with such a major weakness here. There are still some quality offensive tackles on the market. Dunlap may not be someone you want starting for a full season, but he can be productive in a limited role.
And unfortunately, he may be an upgrade over Ogbuehi, which speaks to how bad the latter has been.
The Bengals would be wise to add another veteran tackle before training camp opens. Even if they have faith in Ogbuehi and Fisher, there's no depth behind them outside of Eric Winston, and Winston will be a backup at guard as well. They need another proven tackle, which Ryan Clady would give them.
Clady is a shell of the Pro Bowler he was early in his career, and he isn't someone you want starting, but he'd be great depth for the Bengals to have if he's willing to accept that kind of role, though he'd probably give Ogbuehi a run for his starting spot.
After all, Clady has made 106 career starts, including eight last year with the Jets.
You could make an argument for Jared Odrick being the best lineman on the open market. Back in 2015, Odrick signed a 5-year, $42-million contract with Jacksonville, who wound up using him as a 4-3 defensive end, despite his previous success in Miami coming as a 4-3 defensive tackle.
Odrick played as an end for a couple of seasons before having most of his success as a tackle from 2013-14, so that’s probably what he should stick to with his next team. The Bengals could use some more veteran defensive line depth, and Odrick fits the bill. He’d likely be an upgrade over Wallace Gilberry while filling his defensive tackle/end combo spot. He’d be no certainty to make the roster, but, could add depth and push the other players during training camp.
The Bengals managed to come out of yet another draft without finding a sure replacement for Russell Bodine. J.J. Dielman was added on Day 3, but, he only has give games of experience at center and the rest of his college experience was at tackle. It appears the Bengals are hell bent on sticking with their enigmatic center, but there's still hope for an upgrade in free agency.
That's where Nick Mangold comes into play. Mangold has been one of the game's best centers for much of his career, though his play has declined in recent years. He's still playing at level higher than that of Bodine, and Mangold can probably be had a decent price.
This may be the easiest way for the Bengals to upgrade their roster right now, so maybe they'll see the light and sign Mangold.