Free agency is still a few months away, but with the Cincinnati Bengals’ season over, it’s time to look ahead.
The Bengals could look to be more active in free agency this year than in past offseasons. That isn’t saying much considering they never really pull in free agents from other teams. We won’t know exactly what the Bengals plan to do in free agency until it opens up, but we can take a look at who is currently set to hit the open market.
Mind you, some of these names will probably get re-signed or franchise tagged by their team, so don’t expect all these players to make it to the open market on March 14 when free agency opens.
Today, we are looking at the offensive tackle market. The Bengals obviously need help at the position after the Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher experiments essentially failed this past season. The Bengals could look to use their first-round pick to address the position, but that may not be enough.
Adding one of these guys will surely help protect Andy Dalton going into next season.
Nate Solder (Patriots)
Easily the biggest name of the offensive tackles, Solder would be a huge addition to any team this offseason. The Patriots are known to let players walk if they don’t feel they will sign for what their true value dictates, but it is hard to let a guy like this hit the market.
At 29, Solder may be signing his last big NFL contract, so he’s looking to cash in. The market may not be kind to an offensive tackle who has been dealing with injuries for the past few seasons. If that’s the case, the Bengals could swoop in by offering a one-year prove it deal.
Ja’Wuan James (Dolphins)
James was put on injured reserve with a groin injury in November, but he was the 15th best tackle according to Pro Football Focus. He will only be 26-years-old next season after the Dolphins picked him in the first round of the 2014 draft. But, there’s now a different coaching staff in Miami that could be willing to let him walk away. He was the lone bright spot along the offensive line for the Dolphins in the eight games he played this year.
Chris Hubbard (Steelers)
When Marcus Gilbert was injured and suspended for the Steelers this season, it was Hubbard who kept things rolling along the offensive line. He didn’t miss a beat despite being thrown into the right tackle position. He started 10 games this season, and while he wasn’t great, he wasn’t bad either. He could be a solid addition for cheap, which we all know is music to Mike Brown’s ears.
Cameron Fleming (Patriots)
Fleming is 25, and he is coming off a very solid season replacing Marcus Cannon. The Patriots may choose to retain him over Solder, but if they don’t, Fleming has plenty of room to develop into a solid starter for the Bengals. He finished the regular season as Pro Football Focus’ 31st ranked offensive tackle.