Will this be the year that the Bengals finally become active in free agency?
Don’t count on it, but it’s always nice to dream, even if for a second. Maybe, just maybe, the Bengals actually decide to stray from their ways and actually pursue a big-name free agent.
If they do, NFL.com’s Marc Sessler has a name in mind. Sessler picked a free agent that each AFC team should pursue, and for Cincinnati, it’s offensive guard Andrew Norwell.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Norwell, offensive guard
It’s time for the Bengals to upgrade the quarterback position, but Marvin Lewis and friends appear perfectly content to offer fans the same bland dish they’ve served for years on end. Norwell, at least, would help keep Andy Dalton upright and bring stability to one of the weakest lines league-wide.
This isn’t the first time Cincinnati has been mentioned as a good fit for Norwell. Pro Football Focus also called him a dream free agent signing for the Bengals, and for good reason.
Norwell has become one of the NFL’s best guards while enjoying a standout career with the Carolina Panthers. He’s spent most of his career at left guard, though he briefly played on the right side as a rookie.
The great thing about guards is, in most cases, they can transition to the opposite side rather easily, so Norwell could probably play either spot in Cincinnati at a high level.
That’s something the Bengals could use right now, especially with uncertainty as to whether Clint Boling sticks to guard or left tackle. He showed a lot of promise during his brief stint at left tackle, so if he stays there, the Bengals need a good replacement for him.
But if Boling sticks to left guard, the Bengals still have a need at right guard, where Trey Hopkins was very underwhelming. The combination of Boling and Norwell could form one of, if not the best guard tandem in the NFL.